Minister Stephen Lashley (FP)

Government will soon launch a number of additional initiatives aimed at offering disengaged youth a new lease on life.

That is the word from Minister of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, who disclosed that these opportunities for a "second chance" would come through mentorship, job attachments, community projects and sports.

Mr. Lashley’s comments came last Saturday as he delivered the feature address at the official launch of the 2011 Community Independence Celebrations at the Jackie Opel Amphitheatre, General Post Office, Cheapside, The City.

The Minister promised that his Ministry would work with its partners within the public and private sectors to offer new paths for self improvement to those young people who felt alienated. He stressed that Government would do its part to assist these young people and called on them to respond to these programmes when they were offered, as well as existing ones within the Youth Division of his Ministry.

"I want to see our disengaged youth, in particular those who lime on the blocks, [and] those who leave school with little or no qualifications, take charge of their lives, wake up on mornings and start making enquiries about how you can improve yourselves. In other words, take responsibility for your future.

"We can come up with as many programmes as possible, but it will ultimately be up to you, whether you want to be productive or idle. Remember that idle hands make mischief and there are always severe consequences," he told his audience.

Mr. Lashley said the destructive social practices that had taken over some of our communities must not be allowed to take root. "We need our youth to get to work on building a more responsive and competitive Barbados. We need to get our youth off ???the block’ and into productive activity where they can be of maximum benefit to themselves, their families and their nation…

"Our people must reject negativity in all of its forms. Until we do that, our challenges will not be conquered. The Government, the Church and community organisations can help, but our parents need to take charge of their homes once again. We need to offer positive examples for our children and be firm in disciplining them when this becomes necessary," he suggested.


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