Businessman Mark Kerr-Jarrett is insisting that every male child should enrol in the national Scouts programmes and other similar uniformed groups, where they can be properly guided and not fall easy recruits to a life of crime.

He said this move is critically important given the ongoing lawlessness in the country.

“I highly recommend, if not insist, that mandatory participation in scouting and the other uniformed groups is not only necessary, but essential, if we are to rescue our nation from the savagery that has got a hold of it,” Kerr-Jarrett said.

“I can only logically conclude that being a Boy Scout is one of the best ways to prepare each youth to be the best possible Jamaican citizen that they can be,” said Kerr-Jarrett, the owner and managing director of Barnett Limited.

He was delivering the keynote address at the Scouts Association of Jamaica’s 113th National Leaders Conference at the Teamwork Associates Hospitality and Retreat Centre last Saturday under the theme ‘Building Together for the Future’.

Kerr-Jarrett noted that the ongoing spate of crime is partly being facilitated by the double-shift system in several public schools, which was implemented due to space constraints.

“Without a doubt, we are all concerned about the crime, savagery, and selfishness in our society today, and in my opinion, it has to do a lot with the shift system in the schools, which has led to the diminished, if not the removal of organised afternoon activities like scouting and the other uniformed groups in those schools,” Kerr-Jarrett suggested.

“It is imperative that our children, and in particular our boys, be exposed to socialising activities, especially in a society where fathers are absent from the home. A mother cannot easily turn a boy into a man. It requires a father, a strong positive male role model in his life, and without this, he will seek it out, either in gangs or other male relationships where his vulnerability will be exploited for some form of illicit gain or perverted pleasure,” Kerr-Jarrett warned.

He said that during puberty, boys must be taught how to manage the effect of testosterone, to which the Scout Association and its programmes are essential.

“It [scouting] teaches discipline, integrity, commitment, perseverance, resilience, and responsibility, and it rewards these pursuits. Rewards are earned. They are not a right. With rewards come added responsibility and privilege. It creates growth. It teaches respect for authority, and those in authority are society’s protectors and not predators,” he said.

He also shared that power and authority expose and shape characters and that this must be done in a manner beneficial to society.

“Power and authority in the hands of the untrained, that is gangs, lead to abuse and exploitation where might is right, and because I can take it, I will. And worst of all, I will use the vulnerable and untrained to do it for me and to pay the price if caught,” he noted.

Acknowledging that a man is not powerful because of his capacity for violence, which is how criminals and other predators behave, Kerr-Jarrett said that a man is powerful because he knows how to and has learned the capacity of control, which makes him a good man.

“Men cannot lose that capacity for violence. They must govern it because there will be times when that capacity will be needed to defend society and all that we value and cherish. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is what I believe the Boy Scouts training is,” said Kerr-Jarrett.

“We desperately need this in society today. The Boy Scouts programme reveals natural alpha leaders and trains them, and it sets them on a path of growth,” he added.

Kerr-Jarrett, who made an undisclosed financial donation to the Scout Association of Jamaica, called on Jamaicans to support the body financially and otherwise.

“We as a nation must rally behind this sterling body and call on the leaders of this nation, in public and private, to seriously consider this opportunity to truly affect lasting positive change in our society through tangibly supporting the Boy Scouts Association of Jamaica,” he pleaded.

Source: The Gleaner