Minister of Family, Youth, Sports and Environment, Dr. Esther Byer-Suckoo

Government’s much vaunted national youth consultation will be held on Saturday, November 15, at the Savannah Hotel.

This disclosure has come from Minister of Family, Youth, Sports and Environment, Dr. Esther Byer-Suckoo, who said the consultation would be far reaching because it was one of the major steps in developing a National Youth Policy, where young people could have “a real voice in the development of Barbados.”

She made the comments today while addressing the opening ceremony for the national debate of Team Action Barbados at the Frank Collymore Hall.

The Minister told the gathering that the findings of the research from the national survey, which was commissioned in August this year would be discussed at the workshop and recommendations made to Government.

“I am pleased to report that the data collection stage of the research has been completed and I expect to receive shortly, the findings of the research… I look forward to these results as I fully intend to use this information in all planning in the Department of Youth,” she stated.

In addition, she promised that the findings of the research and the information from the consultation would be made available to stakeholders in the youth development process.

The national survey sought to ascertain, among other things, the issues and challenges facing young people and the possible solutions, and what programmes and projects they would like developed.

During the wide-ranging address, Dr. Byer Suckoo urged the private sector and civil society to invest more in the country’s youth. She advised them to see the investment not only as one in their corporate future, but an investment in the development of Barbados. “As a nation, in these uncertain economic times, that is the best investment we can make,” she opined.

Speaking on the topic “The CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and its relevance to young people”, the Minister said it was an exciting period for the younger generation in the region in that they had the opportunity to be seen and heard by the policy makers and the major stakeholders in the youth development process.

According to her, the regional Heads of Government recognised that the views of young people were extremely important to the successful implementation of the Single Market and Economy. As a result, the Heads established a Commission on Youth Development which was currently carrying out extensive research on the situational analysis of young people in the region, including the CARICOM Youth Dreams and Aspirations Study. This seeks to ascertain from young people 15 to 29 years their views on the CSME and their challenges as young people in the Caribbean.

She pointed out that the Barbados Department of Youth was the Regional Coordinator for this study and it was now in the process of assessing the findings in order to compile the report for the CARICOM Commission on Youth Development.

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