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Lack of Education = Crime and Poverty


Two recent articles inspire this comment. The University of the Virgin
Islands and the V.I. Police Department have joined forces in the hope of getting to the root of the crime problem in the territory in a symposium
(The Colloquium on Crime) to be held this month. The other, Compton Bourne, the President of the Caribbean Development Bank, recently spoke to UVI members, faculty, staff and the student body on the subject of poverty in the Caribbean. If I sound terse in my assessment of crime and poverty and the reason for both, I offer no apology. LACK OF EDUCATION!
Despite the very best efforts of a wonderful bunch of dedicated teachers, our educational system is in total shambles. Teachers are grossly underpaid according to the national average, and thus we have a hard time attracting qualified teachers to relocate here. The good ones here too often get into management positions where the remuneration is higher, or else relocate stateside where they're paid much more. Federal money is returned because it hasn't been used and our children don¹t have the books to read or the
incentives they need to further their education.
We also have a big problem here in the Virgin Islands because children have children and have no idea how to raise them properly so that the next generation too often gets "left behind," as did their parents in turn. A classic case of the blind leading the blind. A plethora of unattended and ill-educated children leads to crime and poverty. It all gets back toEDUCATON!
The Virgin Islands has an advantage over many other Caribbean nations in that we¹re under the United States jurisdiction and receive Federal aid. Where on earth is that money going? Into how many pockets? Given our circumstances and everything that's available to our small community we should have more than sufficient resources to properly educate and inspire our children to learn and better themselves, with or without the help ofsometimes helpless and hapless parents.
Now that the U.S. Education Department is overseeing the local education jurisdiction, there will hopefully be some significant changes coming up. Not soon enough to salvage the kids left behind but hopefully to give some others a chance of a real future.
Didn¹t Governor Turnbull hold the position of Commissioner of Education for many years and make rather a mess of it, as I recall?
Anna Clarke
St Thomas


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