Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office with responsibility for Culture, John King. (FP)

Mentors under the Promoting Agency Trust and Hope (PATH) among incarcerated youth in Barbados project have been encouraged to leave no one behind.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office with responsibility for Culture, John King, made this call as he addressed a recognition and awards ceremony for the project at the Government Industrial School (GIS) (Boys’ Unit) at Dodds, St. Philip, recently.

Mr. King, a former supervisor of the GIS, charged that people across Barbados were alienated over the years, for a number of reasons.  But, he stated, that given the size of Barbadian society, it was important for everyone to reach out and help at every level.

“It is not about us being able to talk down to, it is about being able to talk to.  It is also the ability to listen, not hear, and try to understand where that other person is coming from. All of us were socialised differently; some things are basic; each household, the value systems are going to be different,” Mr. King pointed out.

However, he told the mentors that when they came to institutions, such as the GIS, and exposed themselves to people outside of their comfort zone, they stood to learn a lot about their ability to adapt and change, to accept and help, and to accept help when it was required.

“I want to thank all the mentors for doing what you are doing.  These young people are our future and we have to be there for them through thick and thin, it does not cost a lot in terms of time,” he said.

During the ceremony, Vice Principal of the GIS, Ronald Brathwaite, explained that the PATH project focused on the fact that children at the GIS were isolated from schools, families, neighbourhoods, education and culture, and they hoped to offer young offenders the opportunity to re-energise them in a positive way, hence the birth of the PATH project.

Barbados Ambassador to the International University Sport Federation and Vice President of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Guild of Students, Taahir Bulbulia, noted that 2020 was the year of rebuilding neighbourhoods.

“We saw Barbados return to what it was built on.  It taught us [that] it is not about you or me, it is about we, and how we can help one another through difficulty and hardship,” he said, while encouraging persons to continue in that vein.

He added that now was also the time to develop spaces, systems, communities, and people.  Our people have to be at the forefront of the development of our community.

“We, the youth, must lead this charge.  We are the leaders today for tomorrow.  We must boldly represent the changes that we want to see. We must provide opportunities for all, leaving no one behind,” he said. One way to do this, the Ambassador pointed out, was through sport and its development.  

“Sport is a multimillion dollar industry worldwide and governments and countries have invested heavily in sports and sports development and have reaped the rewards through their investment. Sport is no longer a pastime or a hobby, it is an industry of its own, which can be of benefit to our people, our communities and to our nation,” he noted.

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