Minister of Youth, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo??(FP)

Government has reiterated its commitment to involving young people at all levels, including allowing them to sit on boards and committees.

While addressing the National Youth Leaders Symposium last Saturday, Minister of Youth, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, said the trend had been started with the inclusion of the youth in the Senate of Barbados, Government boards and the National Policy Committee.

Dr. Byer Suckoo continued: "We are committed to the development of young people in this country and will support any positive initiative that strives to assist this process… Young people, through their creative and non-traditional way of thinking, can help clarify and bring focus to an organisation’s mission and lead organisations to reach out to the community in more diverse ways in this age. That is why Government will involve youth."

She stressed that young leaders must be trained and noted that the national camps were designed to provide on-the-job leadership training for young people. She promised that the Ministry would conduct retreats for those who want to serve as camp assistants.

The Minister stated that the social and physical structure of communities across the island had undergone significant transformation and the approaches and strategies to youth development have had to be altered as well.

"We can’t do business the same way, youth work has to reflect the needs of the youth and those have changed… We have made a policy decision that in developing and crafting programmes, we have to use the communication strategy that would reach you.

"We have made a policy decision to ensure that information on all of our programmes and activities are available online. The Ministry has used Facebook for recent activities, with great success," she told her young audience.

Dr. Byer Suckoo expressed the view that there must be a growing national movement to introduce young people to decision-making, adding that all, including the institutions, would benefit.

According to her, a recent CARICOM Youth Dreams Study revealed that they wanted to be a part of the decision-making process and she urged adult leaders to strongly advocate for the inclusion of young people in this area.

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