Unemployment discussions maybe? Minister of Youth, Stephen Lashley, speaking to Pedro Maynard,??who was in the group which discussed unemployment.

Barbadians have not positioned themselves to take advantage of the emerging new technologies, but rather, have become "takers", that is, people who receive goods and services from various countries.

?? Minister of Youth, Stephen Lashley, expressed this view while addressing the first business meeting of the National Youth Forum last Saturday. "We have to turn that around and offer goods and services to countries which need them. The market is there, it calls for a leap of faith, leap of imagination and that is the kind of thinking that has to emerge in terms of this business meeting and the structure of the National Youth Forum," Mr. Lashley assured his 200 strong-audience.

Reiterating that government had embarked on a strategy to cushion the impact of the recession on the population, the Minister told the youth they had to be concerned now with what systems should be built today, so as to ensure that the country could become more productive tomorrow.

A section of the audience listening attentively to??speakers during the??opening ceremony of the first business meeting of the National Youth Forum.

He urged the young people participating in the meeting to think about the role they wished to play. "The reality is that if we continue to think, based on today’s world and situation, when things occur tomorrow and next year, we will not be equipped to deal with them. I appeal to you to challenge your imagination in terms of what robust intervention strategies you will be putting to government by means of recommendation to forge a new, emerging Barbados," Mr. Lashley stated.

He argued that the young people’s future would not only be about securing a job, but identifying what kind of entrepreneurial activity they would be involved in.

Minister of Youth, Stephen Lashley, listening to the group discussion.

The Minister reminded the gathering that all young people across Barbados, including students, youth groups, the church, and organisations should be involved in the Forum. "We have to focus on those young people, who, for whatever reason, believe that the system has left them behind. Those who feel disengaged, those who feel there is no room for them within our evolving economy, and those who, for whatever reason, feel that they have no hope. This is a perfect opportunity to offer hope.

" … The Youth Forum must not be confined to what is happening in Barbados today, but I want you to open your mind to what you want to see here 10 years from now," he advised.?? ????

Mr. Lashley said many young Barbadians had expressed their support for the National Youth Forum and suggested it was confirmation that Cabinet had taken the right decision. saustin@barbados.gov.bb

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