MARIGOT--"School is for instruction, but education starts at home."
Those were the words of President of the Territorial Council Aline Hanson in her address at a low-key Sandy Ground Fête on Friday as she unsurprisingly focused on the youth in a district close to her heart for over two decades.
Noting that she is due to retire in September as principal of the Sandy Ground Elementary School after 23 years, Hanson said she was concerned about road safety and the "extremely worrying death toll" among the youth since the beginning of the year.
"I would like the young people and the parents to pay keen attention to this issue where consequences can be tragic. Sandy Ground must not become an area where anything and everything goes. It's the responsibility of all – the Collectivité, the state, associations and parents – that road safety messages and security issues be heard and respected by all.
"I call on parents to be responsible in educating their children, to transmit to them morals and values, and to help the youth live peacefully in Sandy Ground. Parents, your mission starts at home to make your children develop good habits. Don't think that school can do this. School is to give instruction, but education must be transmitted by you. If you don't do it, then who will? Delinquency starts when children have no values, no limits and no respect for authority. Only the parents can instil the right values."
Hanson thanked Sandy Ground representative Georges Richardson and association Sandy Ground on the Move Insertion for the work they have accomplished with the youth. She also thanked associations Butterfinger, Fireball, SOS Enfants des Iles du Nord, the Cultural Center, Sunlight Revellers and other groups and volunteers.
"It's not the Collectivité or the state or the district council who can accomplish things here alone in Sandy Ground, but only with a joint effort by everyone."
She said work is continuing in the regularisation of land issues in Sandy Ground – work that is complex, but that is progressing "slowly but surely."
Other speakers included Georges Richardson and Préfet Philippe Chopin, who agreed "the image of Sandy Ground must change." He acknowledged the good work of many associations and called for more collaboration. State incentive schemes such as "Contrats d'Avenir" are helping the youth get onto the employment ladder, he noted, and disclosed that he has asked the Economic Council to compile a report on the youth.
The official part of the programme was held in the Sandy Ground Cultural Center. Earlier, members of the Territorial Council attended a service in the Apostolic Faith Church conducted by Pastors Hodge and Rawlins. Among the elected officials were former Mayor Albert Fleming and President of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council Georges Gumbs.
The speeches ended with a traditional champagne toast. There was no parade, but activities and live music were on the programme for the rest of the day.