Parents as the first teachers must teach their children to behave respectfully towards others and those in authority so that they do not commit crimes when they grow up, said a chief from Lopevi, Paama in Port Vila, Erick Joseph.
Teaching our young people to treat others with respect starts from home, he stressed. He believes that restoring respect is a key to reducing crime.
“Teaching our children about respect is the responsibility of all parents. If children do not respect parents they will not respect their chiefs,” he said.
“We as parents must discipline our children if they are disrespectful, this way we are directing them so that they grow up rooted in respect. We must start developing them with good attitude at a young age to avoid problems when they become adults.”
The chief said keeping youth away from crime is everyone’s responsibility, the parents including chiefs. He said all chiefs play a vital role in ensuring respect exist in their communities.
Chief Joseph made the remarks in support of the statement made by the Chief of Mele village and Chairman of Vaturisu Council of Chiefs, Chief Simeon Poilapa IV, regarding SHEFA Province recording the highest crime rate for the past three months this year.
Poilapa said he believes the rise in crime is a result of a lack of respect in the traditional governing system and in homes. He also proposed strict rules to reduce crime such as sending repeated offenders back to their home island.
The Lopevi chief said it is not only people from other islands residing on Efate who get involved in criminal activities, but people from Efate as well.
He said there is another way to address crime if chiefs cannot handle it, and that is through the criminal justice system.