Youth Curfew Proposal Gains Momentum

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Legislators made an effort to have the previous proposal to implement a youth curfew passed in the House of Assembly on 5 October when the House met for the first time following hurricane Irma at the Save the Seed Center in Duffs Bottom.

The idea that the movement of youths in the night should be curtailed was first mentioned by Leader of the Opposition Hon. Andrew Fahie during the debate of the Curfew Act in October, 2011. Almost six years later the suggestion was presented to the House of Assembly once more.

Last week during his contribution to the Curfew Bill Hon. Fahie explained that he tried to influence the passage of  a legislation to restrict the late night movement of minors a few years ago but was told by the then Attorney General that such a Bill was not possible. Now that a Curfew Legislation was being debated the Leader of the Opposition announced that a clause to that deals with minors should be added.

“This is the right time to input a lot of other things in this bill even a section about minors, because we have a problem. It has been a problem with certain of our minors displaying undesirable behaviour for a few years, and we cannot continue to turn a blind eye to it,” Hon. Fahie said.

In further explaining why the clause should be added Hon. Fahie said: “At certain times, we gonna have to address it, so might as well if the Act doesn’t allow it now [during the open debate], in the committee stage, find a way to put it in.”

The Leader of the Opposition’s suggestion was also supported by Junior Minister for Trade and Investment Hon. Marlon Penn. In echoing his support of the suggestion Hon. Penn said: “One aspect that I also would like to add as well is the concern that the Leader of Opposition raised in terms of expanding it (the curfew bill) somehow. I don’t know if this is the time to do that, but I think this is something that needs to be considered whether in the future or so forth.”

Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, Dr. the Hon. Kedrick Pickering also supported the suggestion.

Back in 2011 Hon. Fahie, who was at the time the Leader of the Opposition, talked about a proposed curfew legislation during the House of Assembly on Tuesday 18 April.

At that time Hon. Fahie announced that there is a constant cry that more youths are going astray and that the courts are overflowing with youths who went down the wrong road. Hon. Fahie added that on late night youths can be seen sitting or lurking around idly. Some of the youths Hon. Fahie explained get into trouble because they just want to be in the in-crowd.

As he announced observations the then Minister repeatedly asked where the parents usually are: “Nothing is more troubling than to have a fleet of lost souls…. Gone are the days when parents knew every step their children made,” the Minister said.

Hon. Fahie said that enough was enough, and the time has come for intervention. “Now is time to implement the curfew law to help end backlog at prison and end complacency,” he said.

The then Minister called on parents to know where their children are and their whereabouts. He said that many in the community are saying that Government should not interfere with family business, and Hon. Fahie said that he understands that but announced: “Time for lip service is gone.” He also stated that he was aware that the curfew legislation is not going to solve all.

It is unclear whether the clause was added to the Curfew legislation during the Committee Stage of the sitting.

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