Member of Parliament for the Wheeland Constituency in Providenciales, Hon. Kyle Knowles, is calling for an all-stakeholders intervention into the steadily festering gang-related violence that has snuffed out the lives of many young men over the past several years.
The government MP’s call came on the heels of another young man ruled by the police to be murdered, after his bullet-riddled body was found in a parking lot in Grace Bay on May 29.
Addressing the House of Assembly on June 10, the Wheeland MP said the gang-related violence was causing fear among the young men in his electoral district.
“I pause to speak to the recent murder of another young man in the TCI. I had an opportunity to speak with young men from my constituency, at that time, an array of concerns was expressed. One primarily being the fact that they don't feel safe,” he said.
“They are tired of the reoccurrence of senseless gun violence, so much that they are afraid for their brothers and close friends.”
Knowles pointed out that in some instances, this gang-related violence may have germinated from high schools and later spilled into the wider community even years after the students had graduated.
“They spoke to the growing gang affiliation and how high school feuds spill over into adulthood becoming lifelong conflicts with no real reason,” he revealed, noting that one should not bury their heads in the sand while these acts continue.
“As partners in our society, we must continue to speak to and act on the issues that impact our youth. Yes, we do have young people who are driven by the desire to get the best education, become the best athlete, or becoming the most successful entrepreneur.
“But while this might be the case for many, this may not be the case for several youngsters in our communities. We must do our endeavour best, to reach out and invest in this vulnerable, impressionable demographic,” he urged.
He further urged that community leaders should go to the root of the problem, rather than speak to it from their ivory towers.
“Both government and community leaders must stop preaching to the choir; if not, we will continue to miss the mark. As one of the young parliamentarians and a representative of a constituency, I am mandated to bring the concerns of my peers to the forefront,” Knowles further noted.
He believes that offering them an option outside of gang violence could be the game-changer.
“We need to focus on the root cause of these problems. Mentoring and gaining the trust of our youth through the various agencies is critical. Offering the option to advance themselves economically, educational programs and faith-based initiatives will all help in the saving of our youth and protecting the future of our Beautiful by Nature Turks and Caicos Islands,” he said.