The National, Monday July 8th, 2013
HOW often are our youths being led astray today?
How easy is it to be led astray when there is promise of cash at the end of it all?
We had three instances of this in the last week alone.
Last Wednesday, a student at the University of Technology in Lae was jailed for being in possession of marijuana.
He had gone to the university in the company of another person to pick up an application form to re-enroll at the university’s agriculture faculty.
Unfortunately, he had with him a packet containing a substantial amount of marijuana.
Before Lae District Court Magistrate Nasaling Bingtau, the Sinasina lad of Chimbu pleaded his innocence, that the packet actually belonged to the friend with him.
Indeed the friend told the court the packet belonged to him. The court would hear none of it.
This has happened too often. The court found against the student for being an accomplice and sentenced him to nearly a year in jail.
“You have failed your schooling because you are a drug body,” Bingtau told the student.
“After you come out from prison, you must get educated properly, get a degree and change the country.”
Sound advice from a person who has watched many individuals, young and old, throw away perfect opportunities and destroy their lives by becoming greedy and stupid.
But do you think our youth would listen?
Two days after we published the above fact, in Wewak police claimed they caught a 19-year-old female high school student about to board a dinghy to Vanimo with 4kg of marijuana.
The student of mixed East Sepik and Eastern Highlands parentage is only in Grade 11.
She too claimed to have an adult accomplice but this one gave police the slip.
Police claim the suspect revealed in an interview that she conspired with a man in Wewak, who sent her K500 to buy the marijuana in Goroka and ship it to Wewak.
She went to Madang by road last Tuesday and boarded the ship to Wewak and stayed with the man throught until Friday.
Police said the girl told them: “I gave in to his request to assist in this syndicate because as a student, I wanted to exchange my share of the smoke for a laptop that I need.”
That laptop will have to wait now.
She will of course have her day in court but youth and innocence are no longer protection in so far as magistrates like Bingtau are concerned.
The youth are street-wise and conniving and often use youth and innocence as excuses for some rather serious crimes.
Often, they are aided and abetted in the commission of these crimes by adults who should know better and who should be guiding and mentoring them in decency and lawful conduct.
Take for instance, our story today on the 13-year-old who was caught by Southern Highlands police driving a semi-trailer on the Highlands Highway up Tindom Hill.
Quite a notorious part of the highway for a driver that young to be driving on.
And who was encouraging the young lad on?
Police claim the licensed driver in the crew seat was none other than the father.
Father and son and have been charged with unlawful driving, one without licence and the other for knowingly allowing an under-aged person to be driving a highly dangerous piece of equipment.
Quite apart from the fact that the truck costs many millions of kina and could have been damaged.
The danger to the lives of both and those on the highway was enormous.
This is one more case of wrong or bad parental guidance.
One can understand the need by the parent to teach the son his trade.
No crime there, but not on a highway and certainly not when legally the son is not entitled to be driving, without a licence and perhaps too young to react to situations.
This is the kind of nonsense that is destroying our young people.
If parents will not take their roles seriously and if youths feel inclined to beat the law, then it is high time the courts take an active interest.
Stiff penalties might have a more sobering affect on culprits, as well as have a deterring role for those who might be tempted to do the same in future.