|A section of the audience at the consultation at the Alexandra School. (A. Miller/BGIS)??|
Young people from across Barbados who were unable to attend previous consultations on the Draft National Youth Policy, were given the opportunity yesterday to make their contribution.
This came as the National Youth Policy Coordinating Committee, in association with the National Youth Forum, hosted the final consultation and Symposium at the Alexandra School.
The event saw the participation of approximately 130 registrants, of which 50 were young people.
Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth, Esworth Reid, who spoke on behalf of Minister Stephen Lashley, noted that "the vast majority of young people are decent hardworking citizens." He said, however: "This final consultation has come at a crucial time when the anti-social behavior of a small segment of the youth population is capturing the attention of the mass media in Barbados, in Britain and in other parts of the world."
Mr. Reid reinforced the importance of the Policy and stated that it underscored Government’s commitment to young people, "based on an understanding that our young people should be and can be the main catalysts for the required changes".
"In fact, this Draft National Youth Policy of Barbados unconditionally acknowledges the concerns of youth regarding their own growth and development and highlights the contributions of some of the key programming initiatives that aid their successes. It further acknowledges that the fundamental technological and structural changes that have taken place during the last decade; and the fall-out from the current recession, offer young people the best possible opportunities to show what they can do," the official maintained.
The Deputy Permanent Secretary deemed young Barbadians as "the best educated generation since Independence", and stressed that they must be given the opportunity to contribute to national development.
He pointed out that: "In keeping with the understanding that for every right there is a responsibility, the Draft National Youth Policy expects the youth of Barbados to: take advantage of available opportunities; take responsibility for self-development and for one’s actions; give something positive back to the community and wider society; and embrace the message in our national motto of ???pride and industry’ in all their undertakings".