As the population in San Pedro continues to grow, the island is also registering an increase in issues involving youth. Youth are becoming more involved in criminal activities at a young age which is leading to unnecessary problems. While many prefer to give this problem the blind eye, a solution must be found in order to ensure that the youths grow up to be successful citizen.

According to the Statistic Institute of Belize’s 2010 census, 36% of the population is in the bracket of 0-14 years of age. Youth Coordinator for San Pedro and Caye Caulker, Lincoln Flowers has stated that in the past year the island has seen an increase in child related problem. Some of the youth problems San Pedro is facing include juvenile delinquency, teenage pregnancy and sexual reproductive health, poor education system and high school dropout rate, drug and alcohol abuse and overall disrespect of authorities. “One of the major issues is the abuse of alcohol and drugs. It is common for teens to be experimenting with liquor but what we are facing is that these underage youths are abusing these substances and even falling into drugs,” said Flowers.

While all youth problems are important, drug and alcohol abuse are at the forefront and it can lead to further issues including theft, burglary and increased violence. “We see that children that live in these neighborhoods where there are drug dealers or if their parents consume these substances, then the child is most likely to do the same. I would say that the age range that presents the most youth issues is the 11-17 age range. This is the time when youth are more social and tend to be peer pressured into doing things that they would otherwise not do,” said Flowers. The 11-17 age range is considered a time when youth begin developing their personal identities and redefine their lives. “At this age they are vulnerable and easily follow trends they see or hear on the internet, televisions, music or their surroundings in general. Teen in particular face constant peer pressure and do things that they might not always be their sound choice. This can lead to several problems in society,” said Flowers.Children-2

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