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Detectives patrolling Kingstown, Thursday night, might have saved an at-risk teen from himself when they found him with a large knife and a pair of scissors. 

The 19-year-old male, a resident of a community more than 20 miles away from the city, was brought before the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court, on Friday, where he pleaded guilty to a charge that on Jan. 16, at Wilson Hill Public Road, he had in his possession, offensive weapons, to wit, a knife and scissors.

iWitness News is withholding the teen’s identity because of information relayed to the court indicating that he could be at risk of self-harm.

According the facts read by Corporal David Wright, detective Corporal 334 Harry was leading a team of officers from the Criminal Investigation Department on mobile patrol around Kingstown.

About 9:40 p.m., they met the teen along Wilson Hill Public Road in conversation with another man.

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The police noticed that the teen was wearing a black hooded jacket, black pants and had a pink and black bandanna tied around his neck.

This aroused their suspicion and a search conducted on the teen produced the large knife tucked into the right side of his waist.

When the offence was pointed out to the teen, he told the officer, “Ah fuh me self-defence.”

The police further found a pair of scissors in a bag of clothes that the teen was carrying.

When asked if he agreed with the facts, the teen told the court he did not.

He said that when the police approached him, they asked him if he had any weapons and he told them that he had a knife in his waist. 

The officers told him to hand it over and he did. They then searched him and found the scissors, the teen said.

He said this was his only issue with facts.

Looking ‘for something new — a small job’

Asked to explain his actions, the teen told the court,

“Sir, I understand Kingstown is a very dangerous place,” adding that he had brought the weapon to the city to protect himself from criminals.

The teen said he had come to the city Thursday morning in search of a job and was planning to sleep on the street — to save transportation cost — and continue his job search the following day.

He said he was not accustomed to sleep on the streets but was going to do so “out of desperation”.

The teen told the court that has been searching for a job since he graduated with five subjects from a rural secondary school in 2018.

He said there are 10 members in his household, and only one of them has a job.

He said he had sent out numerous job applications, including to join the police force but nothing has turned up.

He said that a security firm had conducted an interview with him but he was yet to hear anything further from them.

The teen told the court that he had packed the knife but did not know that the scissors – the blade of which was about three inches long — was in the bag in which he placed his clothes

He said he decided to come to Kingstown to search “for something new — a small job”.

Asked about his attire, the teen said that he does not have much clothes.

The court further heard that that teen was carrying a bag with also contained a black t-shirt and a black pair of shorts.  

Prosecutor Police Constable Corlene Samuel told the court that while the Crown empathises with the teen’s unemployed status, the prosecution was concerned about his actions.

Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett, who was presiding, said that he approached things based on his experience.

He further questioned the youth who said that the knife belongs to his uncle and he had taken it from a table at home.

But when the magistrate asked him about his uncle’s names, the teen only gave an alias, adding that he did not know their real names.

The magistrate asked him if he had consulted with his parliamentary representative about a job and the teen simply said his MP’s name in the form of a question.

When Burnett asked him why he had the knife in his waist in the night, the teen said he was about to sleep when the officers stopped him.

The magistrate told the teen that the court had to judge how a reasonable person would operate, adding that the teen’s story was not adding up.

“Something is missing here,” Burnett said. “I believe you are hiding something from me. If you tell me everything, I will appreciate your story a little more,” the senior magistrate said.

But the teen stuck to his story, telling the court that he had planned to sleep in the jacket.

The teen told the court that the bandana belongs to his brother and that he was not aware that people sometimes dress as he was when they want to commit certain crimes.

“I believe you are taking me for a ride,” Burnett told the teen. “I believe you are telling some truth but some lies as well.”

However, the teen maintained that the story was true.

As the court continued to probe the teen, it was revealed that he had EC$139 on his person. 

“$139 is a lot of money for an unemployed person,” the magistrate told the teen, who said that he had gotten the money from his uncles.

The prosecution then asked that the matter be stood down so that they could consult with police in the teen’s residential district.

Suicide threats 

By the time the matter was recalled, the teen’s mother, who works in the city, had been informed and was in court.

The senior magistrate told the mother to tell the court something about her son.

The mother said the teen had been living with his father but “went through abuse” and she had to “give him a chance to catch himself”.

She said that her son had been threatening suicide and was referred to counselling, which he attended every Wednesday.

However, because of the cost of transportation, they had to discontinue the sessions.

The woman told the court that her son passed five subjects.
She said that if she asks him to go to the mountains (farm), he would do so but most of the time he listens to music and takes care of his two dogs.

She said he had sent out multiple job applications but had not had any success. 

Asked if she knew why her son was in court, the mother said she had no idea.

At this point, the magistrate asked that the facts be read again for the woman’s benefit.

The woman appeared to be surprised by the facts.

When the knife was shown to her, the woman exclaimed, “That’s my knife!” She made a similar comment about the scissors.

The woman said she did not have a clue that her son was coming into the city.

She said she left home early for work and told her daughter to call her when the teen returns home. 

The call would come, instead, from the police about the teen being in court.

The woman expressed shock when she learnt that her son was not planning to return home.

“But he never slept out,” she said.

The woman, who by that time was crying, said that things are really hard for her.

She said she had just returned to work, having had to take sick leave because of high blood pressure.

“It’s not him alone, but his sister also. She has a baby outside,” she sobbed.

“He knows I am struggling. I’m busy taking care of his sister’s baby and sending her to school,” she said, suggesting that her daughter is a teen mom.

“You know I have other children,” she cried as she addressed herself to her son by name.

The senior magistrate told the mother that he was sorry that her son was going through the situation, but said the weapons were of concern to the court.

“Look at the knife he was found with,” Burnett said.

The senior magistrate said that the teen appears to be depressed.

“You never know what he can do,” he said, adding that since the teen received counselling before, he would not order counselling for him again.

“I wish someone can get a job for him,” Burnett said, adding that if he says certain things people would say he is getting involved in politics.

“But now is the time,” Burnett said in an apparent reference to this being an election year.

The magistrate said he was tempted to ask for a job for the teen “or ask somebody who he may not want to ask”. 

“I am not going to give up on them,” the mother said, adding that she is really trying.

The senior magistrate then stood the mater down for a few minutes.’

When the hearing resumed, the magistrate told the teen and his mom to go and see a certain person, saying the person would speak to them.

The magistrate reprimanded and discharged the teen, but ordered that the knife and scissors be confiscated.

The prosecutor said it would not be improper to return the clothing to the teen and the magistrate so ordered.

 “I want you to change your life,” Burnett told the teen addressing him by his name.

“I am not saying you have a bad life but stay on the right path. Prison is not for you. I have no son but I’m concerned that most people before me are young men,” the magistrate further said.

“You had an opportunity to go to secondary school and though circumstances are bad at this time, you have to fight it,” Burnett further told the teen.

To illustrate the seriousness of the offence, the prosecutor pointed out to the teen that he could have been sent to prison for up to a year.

The magistrate added: “I want you to reflect on life because you could have been in prison this morning.”

13 replies on “Unemployment drives at-risk teen to ‘desperation’”

  1. I understand the economic situation in Vince lack of jobs ect, however, the teen seems to be a walking time bomb, a tinder box that has the potential to explode at any moment. I do not but the story that the weapon was for his own protection. In my opinion , the presence of those offensive weapons means that he may up to no good. Would he attack some vulnerable person to supplement his income? How about agriculture, he can learn to plant vegetables.

    He has enough money on him to be an entrepreneur. Most VincentIan is of the belief that the government owes them a job. This is a false assumption .

  2. We could repeat this very sad story of youths without jobs, school age girls with children, and struggling mothers with several children to bring up. Mothers being in utter despair of their lives, without hope and in great needs. The same story is being repeated, time after time, again and again village after village throughout this little country of ours.

    However, the Ralph Gonsalves family and their ULP quislings are ignoring all these pressing needs for a different priority, They are not prioritising this country’s overriding interest for sustainable jobs but are making it instead to be one of world security, their own overseas visits to Moscow and elsewhere and engaging themselves in the business of “climate change”.

    As one have said “me waar naam some food but dis man ah go ah Moscow fo talk bout de climate. Ah nah foolishness dat?

    Whose interest is being served by the SVG government’s actions? Venezuela’s? Cuba’s Iran, North Korea? Russia’s? Ralph Gonsalves and his family’s? Whose interest?

    What selfishly twisted priorities, as they elevate their own misguidedly grandiose delusional view of themselves, over and above this country best interest! Which are sustainable private sector jobs, personal security and a pleasant living environment for all Vincentians.

  3. Very good article! This shows the reality of SVG from an informative perspective. I am really pleased with Mr. Burnett and there are other very good judges in SVG.
    Anyone who has read this and has spent many years watching the trend in SVG will easily see that the problem lies with the government. Our economic system is such that all the wealth is sucked-up by the government with the promise that they will redistribute it to those that need it. Instead it encourages a bad work ethic and people that believe they are entitled to worthless government jobs and building materials without earning it. Taxes are so high, making all costs so high that investors will not invest when the chances of making a profit are very low. Forget about exporting! Everyone else in the world can produce anything at a far lower cost than SVG.
    It seems the government’s biggest priority is to take as much money from the people as possible, except from the very rich who are needed for the very big political campaign contributions. The crumbs are passed out to the poor, in the form of building materials, at election time in exchange for votes. The poor and doltish are made to believe that just at election time, because of the ULP, SVG is on the verge of a great economic boom. They are made to believe that if they are not getting rich, it must be thier own fault, when directly and indirectly the entire fault lies with government. The former NDP was not very good but what we have now is much worse!

  4. Sometimes I wonder why politics have to be to the forefront of everything. Those who are haters of the ULP and Ralph Gonsalves government will always point fingers and blame the government for every living thing under the sun. Government cannot employ every living person in the country, only a certain percentage can be employed with government, the private sector employed the greater percentage. I understand the difficult situation with this young man but to put the blame ion government here is just share ignorance and hatred. Things in SVG is not so bad overall when compare to other places. As someone suggest, the young man can start out by planting a little vegetable but as his mom said, he prefer to listen to music and take care of two dogs, that’s the mentality of some of our young people believing that everything should come to them on a platter and when you read the two first comments it’s people like the contributors who made the youths feel that way. Everything happen, jump on Ralph and the ULP.

    1. Politics is the forefront of everything and ULP and Gonsalves are to blame for most of the ills in the SVG community. A government is elected by the people to care for the general interest of the people not to tax them to death. Things in SVG are not so bad you say. But the reality is things are bad, really bad. Whose fault is it that 46%+ of the workforce is jobless? Whose fault is it that police are raping underaged rape victims? Whose fault is it that persons under eighteen don’t think twice to break the law. Have you seen the ballpark at Arnos Vale? Have you looked at the state if the courthouse, A national Monument? Now, you’re trying to say that commentators are lying or unfair to Gonsalves. When it is exactly him who is abusing the trust the people put in Government. Mr., get out of the rum-shop.

    2. Sir you are obviously engaged in reverse psychology, employed by the regime or the dynasty, or both.

      Of course government is to blame they have failed to create an environment and opportunities for industry to grow in SVG. The PM and his political and family team have failed the people, of course they are to blame. The industry that was in SVG ran away a long time past, and new technology would not come in because of our association with Cuba and Venezuela. No investor wants to have there investment grabbed at some time in the future by an extreme socialist leader or government. Bo one wants to invest in communism.

      Today there is a distinct appearance that we are in fact being politically controlled by Cuba.

      No one with half a brain thinks the government can employ everyone, nor do we want that. It is the kill off of opportunity from foreign investment that has caused the deprivement of jobs for Vincentians.

      There can be no others that can be blamed, except perhaps, the electorate who helped put this regime in power, not forgetting those that invented the theft of the elections through fraud.

    3. Bill Johnney, maybe it is because politicians are our leaders. If you had a military leader of 10 soldiers armed with stones and and he led his men against and army of thousands with top weapons and all ten died, would you say it is not the leader’s fault, but the men should have fought better?
      Maybe it is the fault of the church, or the Auto Parts store manager? Maybe the soldier’s great grand dad?

  5. A knife and a scissors? Why does anyone with $139 not able to pay their transportation back home and avoid the risks,the so-called risk to themselves in Kingstown. The same risks should exist both at day and night. Should we all arm ourselves now to come to Kingstown? Some of these teens are too damn aggressive, always ready to jump down someone’s throat. I saw a guy boarding a van the other day and as he stepped up, a cutlass is protruding from the legs of his three-quarter pants. What is that for, peeling orange? Not dismissing his story in totality but he had better options. He may well have just played the magistrate. Its his future now, because his situation has not changed. He just did not go to jail. There are lots more scissors and knives available. Stay tuned!

  6. Here in this video JAMAL we are told of the value of good skill-sets and employment for all, including the youths as it is being put before us. We see the indeed thorough failure of Socialism as is readily seen in a number of places, including post war India, post war China and the Soviet Union after their revolution as the same is explained by the Indian narrator.

    Indeed, the policies of the Gonsalves family regime here in SVG is reminiscent of Cuba, where socialism has miserably failed the people. The same in North Korea, and the Venezuela of today. Moreover, the tattered history of Socialism is quite obvious enough to see and should cause any wise person to think before embarking down such a disastrous road in economic terms.

    For us the example of this youth and his family is telling us the sad story of how broken SVG is under the Gonsalves regime. For sure JAMAL, you have hit the nail on the head with what you have said, but who will liberate us Vincentians from this deluded self-serving Gonsalves regime?

    A regime headed by a family who are thoroughly obsessed with their own self-importance and who have shown us that they have no interest whatsoever in the betterment of the majority of Vincentians, Vincentians who like that presume to be desperate youth and his family, are sucking salt because of the lack of work.

    But that sad fact of theirs and the country’s plight JAMAL, is the terrible result of socialist dictatorship policies that we have had to endure under the Gonsalves. Policies that destroys private sector jobs, works through nepotism and cronyism, sends the country begging and produces sky-high taxes.

    Will we therefore be wise enough to learn from those mentioned countries mistakes or will we remain forever dunce, being attracted to the dishonest freebees, the giveaways of dollar bills and building materials at election time?

  7. This individual Bill Johnney writes this; “Sometimes I wonder why politics have to be to the forefront of everything”. Well Bill Johnney, perhaps it is because politics is the fulcrum on which social life in every state turns, be the state a dictatorship, a democracy, theocracy or even a monarchy.

    In our case, we have an elected dictatorship here in SVG, although many here are questioning whether the Gonsalves government were ever elected into office. Indeed it is taking the courts over four and more years to decide on that vexed issue.

    However, the writer could not be more correct when writing, “Government cannot employ every living person in the country, only a certain percentage can be employed with government, the private sector employed the greater percentage”. For that is precisely the problem with Ralph Gonsalves’s politics as he is a declared Marxist /Socialist who do not yet accept that fact.

    His Marxist/Socialist credentials he tells us is displayed in his support for Socialist Cuba and Venezuela. His party parades in the usual socialist Red Garb as they wave their red flags about.

    These Socialist credentials of his he says, also show themselves in the type of policies that he, his family and the ULP have employed in the running of the SVG Government and for us, the results, as like it is with Cuba and Venezuela, has been profoundly equally disastrous. Both on people’s lives and on the Vincentian economy, destroying private sector jobs and creating capital flight.

    The writer further writes; “I understand the difficult situation with this young man but to put the blame on government here is just share ignorance and hatred”. Since Socialist policies destroys jobs, one would ask the writer where the blame should be put.

    Since the socio-economic policy of the Government is the cause and destroyer of jobs therefore, the entire blame sure belongs with the Gonsalves Government and no other. As to ignorance may I recommend “The Wealth of Nations” by Adam Smith to the writer and to the Gonsalves Government?

    In “Telling the Truth about Socialism” history has shown us that political economies that employs socialist policies leads only to a never-ending cycle of poverty and economic deterioration.

    When the state accrue onto itself swinging taxes from an ever dwindling private sector and further burden the population with more and more burdensome taxes it takes away the incentives for wealth creation that would otherwise lead to job creation. Capital flight then follows leading to a reduced business environment and the destruction of even more jobs.

    The writer write this; “Things in SVG is not so bad overall when compare to other places” yet according to ELMA GABRIEL in a recent post, she tells us this:

    “With a GDP per Capita Income (USD) 7,145 compare to Barbados 16,357, St.Kitts Nevis 17,924 Grenada 10,451 and St.Lucia 9,715. The Opposition just need to be quicker in their political thoughts in combating ULP’s crafty approaches”. This hardly amounts to us doing well. And with over half the workforce out of work it is hardly surprising.

    The political economy of the Gonsalves belong in the dustbin of history as such a socio-economic policy have never produced prosperity for any nation to date. What it however has done so far is to encourage dictatorships whenever and wherever it has bee tried, create wealthy elites through nepotism and cronyism and destroy private sector jobs.

    The sooner we get the Gonsalves out of office the better it would be for all the peoples of our small country. Watch and learn: THE TRUTH ABOUT SWEDISH SOCIALISM: Debunking the lies of the left.

  8. All of their family and close associates have jobs, and look at the types of jobs. Is this Nepotism..? I am asking. I pray for this young chap. One of my very own went through this state of not getting work, luckily I was able to help him via money gram. Thank God, he is OK for the time. So many of us will have to suffer and die here.

  9. I understand that the economic situation is bad and that no government cannot guarantee a job for everyone. However, hey can provide seed money to encourage entrepreneurship. Then ando only then there will an ease in the economic situation.

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