Message For International Youth Day August 12, 2022

Delivered By

The Honourable Davidson Ishmael, M.P.

Acting Minister Of Youth, Sports And Community Empowerment

Today, Barbados joins the global community in observing International Youth Day.  International Youth Day is an important day on our national calendar, celebrated since 1999 when the United Nations provided a dedicated space to celebrate young people and to highlight issues faced by them. 

This year, the theme Intergenerational Solidarity: Creating a World for All Ages” brings attention to critical concerns that impact the bedrock of our society, concerns such as family, kinship and social relationships which define who we are as citizens and residents.  Indeed, the focus on intergenerational solidarity is more prevalent given that our society is now recording data which reveal that there is an increase in life expectancy, demographic shifts marked by a significant youth bulge, and changes in family structures and relationships.  These factors are concomitant with the expressed concerns about changing value systems and the decline in traditional social mores, which may be leading to the breakdown of families and increases in social problems such as crime, violence, unemployment and the abandonment of elder family members.

Intergenerational solidarity fosters collaboration and harmony between all age groups and allows for the sharing of traditional folklore and values, and socio-historical perspectives by the elder generation and the articulation of new perspectives for change, regeneration and continuity of the society by the younger generation.  Indeed, it is these types of social contracts and interactions that are desirable and allow for social stability and integration within our society, but also provide social support for the elderly and other vulnerable persons amongst us. 

The theme for this year’s commemoration therefore encourages all age groups in the country to act decisively and collectively to uplift and develop our people and our communities.  In particular, the theme calls for the removal of age discrimination, and to utilize young people and the elderly in the decision-making processes in order to improve emotional, social and economic well-being.   The mandate of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment places it in a position to develop synergies with private and public sector agencies to support consensus building and intergenerational connectedness among all of our citizens. 

It is therefore within this context that the Ministry has developed and implemented a variety of educational, training and social programmes in communities and schools over the years to support the personal, psycho-social, sporting, technical and disciplinary development of people of all ages.  The focus of this year’s International Youth Day celebrations will direct us to aim to build greater integration of our elderly and young citizens in all of our programmes.

I am very cognizant of the creative and successful social developmental programmes which are developed by non-governmental organisations, and the support for such programmes by some private sector establishments.   Today, I am therefore calling on all organizations to seek to develop new partnerships which can eliminate ageism and social exclusion, and support the kind of intergenerational solidarity which is needed to reduce social problems in our country.

It is imperative that we work together and I assure that our Government will continue to work with all stakeholders to develop and promote strategies that will strengthen all of our age cohorts and provide them with the opportunities to have fulfilling lives.  I call on us to exercise tolerance and respect for diverse views acknowledging that members of successive age cohorts grow up at different points in historical time and are products of different sets of personal, socio-political concerns, and life experiences.    

The opportunities exist for faith-based organisations, environmental groups, sports clubs and federations, professional associations, and organizations across all diverse sectors to collaborate and develop multi-sectoral approaches that facilitate the creation of safe, accessible, sustainable spaces for intergenerational solidarity to thrive.  This is necessary if our Barbadian way of living and society is to be preserved. 

Happy International Youth Day!

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