The National Youth Council of Dominica wants underage drinking to be punishable by law.
Council President Paul Baron spoke to Dominica Vibes recently to encourage young people to participate in independence activities.
He emphasised that that participation should be wholesome citing that alcohol use among young people is not adequately regulated.
“What is in fact law is that you cannot sell to a minor who is under 18. However, there is not a law that bars a minor from consuming alcohol. While the minors cannot buy it, there is no law that says they cannot consume it under the age of 18. That’s a blind spot in our legal system.”
Baron believes the nation’s future, its youth, ought to be priority number one.
“If we have to develop as a country, we have to safeguard its most precious resource which is its young people. The responsibility of taking Dominica through the 21st century and beyond is dependent on the young people. We have a huge youthful population in fact, it is estimated to be at least 40%,” Baron says. “The National Youth Council will take up the responsibility of pursuing that and I will…personally as well.”
In the meantime, however, Baron calls young people to act responsibly.
“Whenever you are engaging in activities in this Creole season, do so in a responsible manner. Do not over-consume alcohol, do not engage in anti-social activities, have fun with your peers and family in a manner that you are safe and your health is safeguarded as well; do not end up in trouble. Essentially, we want the very best for you and we want to ensure that you live a fulfilling life.”
He says the Council will follow that issue and continue advocating for the cause adding, “I believe that the law has to stipulate a legal drinking age.”