The youth of Barbados must take steps towards innovation.

This assertion came today from Minister with responsibility for Youth, Stephen Lashley, as he delivered the feature address at a National Youth Consultation at the Radisson Aquatica Resort.

He expressed the belief that today???s youth needed to be innovative in their thinking, rather than be ???listeners and followers???. He encouraged them to focus on a pathway of being different instead of following the majority.

???Don???t just follow; you must set the tone that others follow. We [in Barbados] have to produce innovative ideas, not just import them. You have to be innovative in your thinking,??? he stressed, adding that it was his hope to see more innovation in the nation???s schools.

He urged the participants to make steps towards innovation from an early age, while also ensuring that their work was ???comparable with some of the movers and shakers in the global stratosphere???.

While acknowledging that persons often tried ???to lump our young people into one??? with regard to discussions on deviance, crime and violence, the Minister encouraged the youth to believe in themselves, and not be derailed by negative stories.

He also advised them to position themselves to be part of the solution and not contributors to the antisocial behaviours currently being seen across the island.??Mr. Lashley also underscored the need for the youth to attend forums such as the National Youth Consultation, as their opinions mattered and were important in the overall shaping of the country.

???Without the voices of our young people we cannot expect to build a Barbados that will occupy that prime spot with our international reality; we have to have your contribution in order to transform our reality in the manner it has to be transformed,??? he maintained.

Following the National Youth Consultation, a report will be made by the Division of Youth and presented to the parent Ministry. Then, based on the input from the participants, an action plan will be drafted.

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