Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, and Barbados’ Ambassador designate to the People’s Republic of China, Sir Lloyd Sandiford, sharing??a joke during the courtesy call.

Stop seeing the youth as a problem!

This strong message came from Minister of Youth, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, and Barbados’ Ambassador designate to the People’s Republic of China, Sir Lloyd Sandiford, during a courtesy call at the Minister’s office yesterday.

Sir Lloyd said: "When I look back, I am not sure that they are so very much worse off or different from previous generations… We have to do our programmes for the youth… Develop new programmes that can have the interest of the youth. We must get our priorities right. We must not spend money, time and human resources on areas that are not as pressing… Know the programmes that make sense and those that could wait for improved times and situations."

Dr. Byer Suckoo agreed, stating that when one thought of the youth as a problem, then that mindset could affect the initiatives put in place for them.

??"You talk about highlighting the positives, but in the back of your mind and at the base of all your plans and programmes, you see the youth as problems, and that is what will emerge in everything… I suspect every generation has had its young people who we today might call marginalised," she opined.

During the wide-ranging discussions, the Minister identified technical cooperation from the People’s Republic of China, as an area Barbados could benefit from, stating that she would like training programmes for sports administrators, coaches and those involved in maintenance.

She noted that the Government had received assistance from that nation, especially in the area of sports, and she cited the Garfield Sobers Gymnasium, as an example. She pointed out that Government was interested in constructing a new national stadium and discussions were held with the Chinese, but the plan was placed on hold because of budgetary constraints.

In the area of youth, Dr. Byer Suckoo said the Ministry was working on developing a National Youth Policy, and introducing the service component of the National Youth Service by September, 2010.

Sir Lloyd stressed that the Ministry of Youth, Family and Sports, was very important to this island’s development, and he congratulated the Minister on the work she had done.

As the Ambassador-designate prepares to take up his overseas assignment, he has had familiarisation meetings with the Prime Minister and some Government Ministers.

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