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Bishop Harvey addresses unrest among the youth

Bishop Clyde Harvey – head of the Roman Catholic Church in Grenada

Roman Catholic Bishop Clyde Harvey has acknowledged that there is a serious breakdown in the Grenadian society especially with the youth.

Speaking on a programme on the Grenada Broadcasting Network (GBN), the head of the Roman Catholic community on the island said that urgent steps must be taken to engage the young people on those issues affecting them.

GBN hosted the programme against the backdrop of the open rebellion and defiance of the young people to a decision taken by the Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) to ban carnival activities this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Hundreds of young people played the popular Jab mas especially and hurled insults and several obscenities at Prime Minister Mitchell.

Speculation is rife that the decision by the youth to disregard the ban was in retaliation to a government-sanctioned Cyber soca monarch competition that took place at the national sporting stadium in Queen’s Park, St. George’s.

Bishop Harvey told the host of the programme that society is changing rapidly and some people apparently do not want to accept and understand what is happening around them.

He admitted that the time when the church and the family were the two dominant factors in society for young people have gone a long time ago.

He said the young people are now being influenced by all kinds of things like social media, radio and television and the elders no longer have the power of control over them as in past years.

“That we have to understand and deal with,” he remarked.

According to Bishop Harvey, it is not just a matter of getting young people to start praying as that in itself will not solve the problem as there are agents outside there that are influencing their lives.

He charged that both the Church and State have abdicated their responsibility to find out what is going on in the lives of the young people and see how best the issues affecting their behaviour can be resolved.

The Catholic Bishop said that young people need guidance but where they can get that guidance from is more complex as it is not just a matter of sitting and talking with them.

“The problem is – what are the major competing influencers on their lives? There are so many things influencing the young people and to just attack those elements this is just not enough. Young people won’t listen to that – they want to know why,” he said.

“It is not enough for me as a Bishop to tell people that is sinful. We have a transformation taking place in the society and it is going to take a while to deal with it. We cannot deal with it simple overnight,” he remarked.

The Bishop commended the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) for the manner in which it handled the open defiance of the young people to go ahead and ply Jab mas especially in large numbers on Carnival Tuesday morning in Sauteurs in St. Patrick.

The head of the Catholic Church conceded that the action of the police avoided a confrontation with the young people that could have gotten nasty.

He said: “I give the police top marks for the way in which they responded because what they did was they held the fort … .and if they had gone to try and do something else we would have seen a very violent situation.”

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