Minister of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, (left) speaking at the launch of the General Bussa Youth Leadership Programme. Chairman of the Commission for Pan African Affairs, Dr. Erskine Simmons (centre) and Director of the Commission, Deryck Murray, listen intently. (C.Pitt/BGIS)??

The Commission for Pan African Affairs (CPAA) will be using the qualities and traits of National Hero, the Right Excellent Bussa, to equip 60 young people with leadership and entrepreneurial skills, as part of the General Bussa Youth Leadership Programme.

Director of the Commission, Deryck Murray, said the programme, which was recently launched under the Social Identity-Renewal and Integrated Upliftment Strategy (SIRIUS) project, would make young people aware of their heritage and identity, while empowering them to improve their personal lives and communities.

"The General Bussa Youth Leadership project will seek to train [these] young people [over the next three months] in Afro-centric thought and consciousness; History, culture, identity issues, race consciousness alongside community and entrepreneurial development; what it means to be innovative as well as what it means to design wealth generating systems and mechanisms.

??"The 60 young people, once they are trained and successfully complete the programme, will be assisting in developing at least three community initiatives or programmes, one in the northern zone, the south and one in The City.

??"These community programmes will be linked to businesses that will be set up by the Commission in collaboration with the youth and designed to look for, forge and capitalise on opportunities specifically those that lie with the Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison inscription; those that lie with export opportunities or services, knowledge and information technology; services that we can develop and links that we can forge with the south such as Brazil… And, it will be the job of the Commission to lead this initiative and to walk with the leaders in terms of developing the projects, programmes and the businesses," Mr. Murray explained.

He said the programme would target young people between the ages of 18 and 35. In addition, Phase One of the project will be completed in nine months and participants will receive continuous training.

The Director noted that the SIRIUS project was designed to pull together and harness the existing resources and projects across the Ministry of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth by implementing initiatives such as the General Bussa Youth Leadership Programme.

He acknowledged that General Bussa’s legacy was one of revolution through action and the values that he possessed such as knowing who he was, where he was from, what he wanted and where he wanted his people to go, were the same values that the Commission wanted to inculcate in the country’s youth.


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