Gov’t appeals for softer approach to address loitering

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The Cabinet of Antigua and Barbuda has instructed officials within the Ministry of Education to apply “a gentler” approach to addressing the problem of school children loitering in the streets of St. John’s in their uniform after class hours, following a recent suggestion by the Director of Education.
The Director of Education Clare Browne recommended on Monday that loitering be made a criminal offence and parents should be held accountable for the actions of their children. At the time of his interview, earlier this week, Browne outlined measures to be taken by the ministry to address the issue.
People from all walks of life rejected the suggestion and called for wide stakeholder dialogue before specific measures are implemented.
According to the Government’s Chief of Staff Lionel “Max” Hurst, the Cabinet was advised that criminalising the matter is likely to offend some people based on a constitutional standpoint.
He said the ministry has been asked to develop a policy which could be applied, but will not be as offensive.
“That policy may take two weeks, therefore, the Education Minister Michael Browne will report to the Cabinet later next month on such a policy,” Hurst said.
He added that the government is also hoping that parents will play a great role in ensuring that their children return home after school rather that loiter within the capital.

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