A youth leader from the Long Look area of Tortola, Kevon Lettsome, has made an impassioned plea for residents to walk away from crime, adding that police and elected representatives should think outside the box and consider measures such as a curfew.
Lettsome, who is President and Founder of the non-profit group called Reaching Out Foundation, noted that there is also need to further address the issue of youth unemployment in Long Look.
“The Virgin Islands is losing young men rapidly to gun crimes, drug abuse and incarceration… I am here today crying out for peace, love, togetherness,” said the young man now enrolled at DeVry University in the United States, pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing and Youth Development.
His appeal comes as Long Look continues to grapple with a number of shootings – some fatal. Three people – Franklyn Fahie, Estavan Jefferson, and Shaun Richards – have been shot dead in the community since the start of this year.
With those and other incidents in mind, Lettsome, who has been involved in a number of community activities, DECLARED: “We must make the Virgin Islands safe again!.. We can’t continue to depend on the representatives and Government. We, as one Virgin Islands, must make contributions to help solve the problems.”
Here is Lettsome’s FULL APPEAL as received by BVI News Online:
“Who feels it, knows it. Let those who are talking do something. We need people to be proactive; not reactive.
The norm has continued whereby the Virgin Islands is losing young men rapidly to gun crimes, drug abuse, and incarceration.
As I am a product of the Long Look area, I have heard the famous saying that ‘nothing good can’t come out of Long Look’. With the recent actions by the anonymous, the stigma is continuing to live on.
We need to eradicate the stigma of our crisis that we are convicts, drug addicts, and underachievers.
I am here today crying out for peace, love, togetherness, and safety.
I am urging all residents of the Virgin Islands to put crime aside, as it is no good in the end. They lead to many things such as broken homes, imprisonment, and death.
Leadership matters! We need all hands on deck and all members on board – elected officials, businessmen/women and religious groups – to work with communities collectively to find strategic solutions to the issues affecting our communities.
We must make the Virgin Islands safe again!
While I must give the community’s political representative Hon Kedrick Pickering credit for the tremendous strides he’s been making regarding unemployment in the community, I still must say we need to improve the employment rate among young people.
What we also need is new legislation with stiff penalties for crimes, improved national security with around-the-clock police patrolling, and other measures.
We need new community initiatives such as an internship programme – and even considering a country curfew.
The powers that be need to change their attitude towards policy – from ignorance to actually adhering to the policies in place to make their jobs easier and to maintain order.
I can remember my grandparents telling me about the days when you could have left your doors open, when the village used to raise a child, and when you could have sat outside your homes without having to worry about anything.
Those times are now history. But there is still hope!
Just look at those that came before us; they have made meaningful contributions.
We from the Long Look area need equal opportunities to excel in education, sports, and employment.
I must say to family and friends in the community and within the entire Virgin Islands, that we can’t continue to depend on the representatives and government.
We, as one Virgin Islands, must make contributions to help solve the problems.
Whether it’s giving solutions or suggestions, I encourage the talkers to put their words into action.
As President of the United States, Donald J Trump once said: “Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war.”
I quote that to say that we may have several issues we are facing, but there is still time to get many of them fixed. Let us fix them now!
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