Home at last: Minister of Youth, Stephen Lashley, in the new space provided by his Ministry for the BYDC and the NYF. In discussion with the Minister are (from left) Erin Corbin-Boyce of the BYDC; Cherisse Francis, President of the Council; Secretary of the NYF, Melissa Savoury-Gittens; and Christopher Morgan and Ashaa Cumberbatch of the Council. (A.Gaskin/BGIS)??????????

The Barbados Youth Development Council (BYDC) and the National Youth Forum (NYF) now have a place to call home.

Representatives of both groups were today given a space in the Ministry of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth at Haggatt Hall, St. Michael. And, during a hand over ceremony, Minister of Youth, Stephen Lashley, said both organisations had very important roles to play in the implementation of the National Youth Policy.

Mr. Lashley continued: "The provision of office space is indeed an indication and solid confirmation by this Government that we embrace young people in their various organisations…

"Our concern was that they had to move from one place to another to conduct their meetings and … we felt that the work they do should not be subjected to moving from one place to another."

The Minister described the handover of the space as a first step, stating that he envisaged other offices being set up in other parts of the island. "I believe it is absolutely necessary that the organisations which represent young people are also present among them in the community," he stated.

He urged both the BYDC and the NYF to galvanise their membership so more young people would become involved in youth development work.?? "What is really needed at this stage is for more young people to get on board. This is really their opportunity to assert themselves… Young people should not sit on the sidelines, but come to the centre of what I believe is going to be a very exciting future for them.

"We need the young people to come forward. We need them to express their interest and turn up for duty so we can engage them," he suggested.

Mr. Lashley noted that the NYF will open its doors to new membership, and a Youth Development Board would be put in place because the development agenda for young people must now be streamlined. He also disclosed that a co-ordinating Inter-Ministerial Committee had been put in place to oversee the National Youth Policy.

He pointed out, however, that the evolution of the Policy could not be done without the involvement of the youth and he opined that the document would have to be reviewed from time to time.


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