PHILIPSBURG:— On Monday, September 6th to Wednesday, September 8th, 2021, the Honorable Minister of Justice, Ms. Anna E. Richardson, will be hosting Sint Maarten’s first National Youth Delinquency Symposium. The Symposium will serve as an opportunity for all stakeholders involved in youth care and prevention of youth delinquency to discuss topics related to their operations within the field of the youth with an emphasis on youth delinquency.
As the Minister of Justice continues to strive for the improvement of the Justice Chain, youth delinquency has remained an important aspect that warrants focused attention. The justice chain is the last resort where it pertains to the trajectory of the youth, meaning that by the time the youth have reached this point, prior interventions, parental upbringing, and schooling have not had their intended impact. To exacerbate this, the youth delinquency network of St. Maarten is very limited due to scarce resources and capacity. Notwithstanding that there is a need to ensure that our youth are kept out of the penal system.
The consideration for this symposium is based on the need to establish a comprehensive system that supports at-risk youth (and their families). Moreover, youth delinquency warrants a layered approach to which government must ensure an array of initiatives are established to tackle this target group. This is achievable by utilizing and incorporating existing services, structures, agencies as well as capacity with the aim to reduce the number of youth in the Justice system and provide parents, youth service providers with alternative measures/programs and improve the network. The Minister is hopeful that this symposium will highlight the bottlenecks in the work method with at-risk youth and that it will be the start of clearing out those bottlenecks.
Minister Richardson has expressed the importance of this symposium, reiterating the positive impact that having all stakeholders work together can have on the youth of Sint Maarten. “I look forward to convening the first national youth delinquency symposium so that we can not only have this much-needed conversation but begin to brainstorm solutions together. In a collaborative effort with the Ministries of Justice and General Affairs, the aim of the symposium is to harness a connected and harmonious youth delinquency network as well as to discuss the state of the youth, challenges, and solutions”, stated the minister.
The Symposium will commence on Monday, September 6th over a 3-day period and will be hosted virtually allowing for the actors and all stakeholders within the network including the youth to have the opportunity to interact, exchange and collaborate during the session. Furthermore, the symposium will be live-streamed on the Government of Sint Maarten Facebook page so that the public can follow the discussion and provide feedback through the chatroom.
Minister Richardson encourages the general public to join in on this discussion, stating that “this is a conversation to be had with all of us”. All information regarding the symposium can be found on the website and Facebook page of Government, the Ministry of Justice and the Prime Minister. This is a call to action, for the state of our youth.