by Eulana Weekes
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Minister of Sports and the Creative Economy Samal Duggins regards sport as a powerful tool to engage communities and in preventing crime and violence among the youth.
“When you look at the area of sports and what it does for our people mentally, and physically. It is an important aspect for our social development. When it comes to crime and violence a lot of that is spurred on because of not enough engagement and sports is an excellent way to engage our young people. One of the things we are looking at as a Ministry of Sports and Creative Economy is engaging our young people in more creative aspects. Let them use their imagination and their minds for constructive elements; and so using their creativity will ultimately channel them along a more positive path.
Fundamental to using sports in that regard is ensuring that different sporting disciplines are on the curriculum.
“One of the things in doing that is we’ve been really diligently working on getting sports back as a fundamental aspect of our curriculum. Over the last few years, we recognise that it has not been as impactful in our schools’ curriculum and we want to ensure that sports in schools are right back as a major and a fundamental aspect of schools curriculum.”
For the academic year 2023-2024, the Physical Education curriculum focuses on sporting disciplines, including volleyball, netball, football, and cricket.
Meanwhile, investment into sporting facilities was a priority of the Ministry of Sports and Creative Economy during the first year of the Government’s term in office. Several sporting centres have seen significant upgrades.
“You would have recognised that we did a media report on some of what we are currently working on in terms of upgrading our facilities and just in the last year, we’ve done significant work towards Kim Collins Stadium, Warner Park Stadium, our cricket stadium in Conaree, the football stadium in Conaree, St. Peters Football Stadium and a number of other stadiums around the country. The whole idea in this is to make sure that our stadiums are up to par for our children and our sports and reactionary community.”
Youth violence in St. Kitts and Nevis range from bullying to fighting, physical and sexual assault, robberies, larcenies, malicious damages, drugs and homicides.
Police Statistics reveal that between the period 2020 to 2022, there was an increase in major crimes in the Federation. In 2020, a total of 1,125 major crimes were committed; 1,248 in 2021 and 1,360 in 2022.
The Federation, currently in 2023 is averaging two homicides a month based on the current trend; a majority being young men between 18 and 47.