National Youth Policy Approved By Cabinet

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Minister of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley (FP)

Barbados’ National Youth Policy has been approved by Cabinet and will shortly be debated in Parliament.

This disclosure has come from Minister of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, who promised the Policy would be monitored and evaluated on a regular basis.

Expressing delight at the progress Government has made to get the document to this stage, Mr. Lashley said: "It has been a long process, but we are committed to the development of our young people and ensuring that the relevant structures and systems are put in place to ensure that their pressing concerns are addressed.

"We have to compliment the many young people who assisted the Government in the preparation of the various components of the policy which stresses the importance of balancing rights with responsibilities. This policy, once given the widest possible support, will help to create the foundation upon which our youth can assert themselves and further accelerate the transformation of the Barbadian economy towards meeting their current and future needs."

A steering committee, which was chaired by Derek Alleyne and had Dr. Ivan Henry as its consultant, was set up in 2009 to prepare a draft National Youth Policy.

Mr. Lashley pointed out that the goals of the Policy included: reducing unemployment by ensuring that young people were gainfully occupied after leaving school; improving education by ensuring that the education system provides equal opportunities for all children, including those with different talents; and preventing the spread of gangs by helping young people join positive groups.

He explained that the document suggests 10 mechanisms which should be implemented to help young people and he outlined some of them as an Inter-Ministerial Committee for Youth Development, a Youth Development Board, a National Youth Service, and an expanded Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme.

"So, once the National Youth Policy is implemented we would eventually have a new and energised youth movement, a national youth forum and youth parliament, and better co-ordinated youth programmes, among other things," the Minister stated.

sharon.austingill-moore@barbados.gov.bb

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