Message To Be Delivered By The Honourable Stephen Lashley, Minister Of Youth, Family And Sports In Recognition Of International Day Of Families, May 15, 2010

As we recognize International Day of Families which is celebrated particularly in the Western Hemisphere on May 15, families particularly in Barbados are encouraged to spend some part of every day in communication and in fellowship with each other.

This year, the day is being observed under the theme ???The impact of migration on families around the world‘ and in Barbados, I would wish to expand this theme to cover the implications of the various subcultures that are impacting on Barbadian society.

One can never over-emphasize the fact that in order for a society to grow that it needs people, and each person is a representative of a family unit. The type of nation and the success it reaps is heavily dependent on the character, the level of consciousness and the productivity of the persons found within that nation. It is imperative that persons who comprise a family are given support and strong foundations from the beginning of their lives.

At times, the family will encounter various challenges. Some may be forced to move from a life and surroundings that were once so familiar and safe, to an environment of uncertainty and possible exploitation.

While in Barbados this movement may be restricted due to our small land mass, the movement of families across the island, from country to town and vice versa, the arrival of new persons into Barbados has meant exposure to a different way of living, speaking and interaction.

Coupled with this is the socialization of our most impressionable minds via the Cable TV, INTERNET which has resulted in the emergence of subcultures depicted and acted upon via our choices in music, dress, and social activity. All of this is having a negative impact on family life and particularly on our children.

We must therefore as a nation join hands in eradicating all negative practices and anti-social behaviours, while casting a safety net around our children and the elderly.

But while we recognize the need to curb lawlessness and negative conduct in any form that may they arise, we need more importantly to embrace, recognize and celebrate the positive behavior which is exhibited in the majority of our youth. In this regard, invite the media in particular to use every opportunity to highlight our many positive young people rather than focus on the negative minority.

As we acknowledge International Day of Families, I encourage all persons across Barbados to spend some quality time with their family-whether in family devotions or periods of quiet reflection-recognizing that nothing can ever be accomplished without the presence of Almighty God.

Go to the beach, a picnic, or a drive. To ensure some form of physical activity, take a walk or even exercise together. Whatever you do on May 15, and beyond, always be conscious of the importance of the family unit. Parents and care givers, let us provide our children with some of the greatest, free gifts of love, respect, fear of God, ability to communicate and the ability to make good decisions.

Let us build a Barbados that is ideal, yet real, safe, clean and healthy for raising families that will augur well for the positive and sustainable development of our island in the twenty first century.

I thank you.

Author: Ministry of Youth, Family and Sports

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