Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Stephen Lashley, speaking with Programme Officers of the Bureau of Gender Affairs, Nalita Gajadhar (left) and Patricia Hackett-Codrington, during a tour of that deaprtment on Wednesday. At right is Permanent Secretary, Irvine Best. (Image: A. Miller/BGIS)

The cries of mothers who are awaiting placement of their children in government day care facilities are being heard by the new Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Stephen Lashley, and he has promised that area is one of several which would occupy his attention in the future.

Mr. Lashley made the comments yesterday after a familiarisation tour of some of the departments which fall under his Ministry, namely the Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme (YES), Child Care Board (CCB) and the Bureau of Gender Affairs.

He noted that additional spaces were needed at some nurseries across the island, especially since some working mothers did not have the option of an extended family to take care of their children. "There obviously is a need to even look to see if we can construct additional day care facilities… I will be looking with the technocrats at existing day care facilities to see to what extent we can expand, if there is land space in the immediate vicinity," Mr. Lashley stated.

The Family Minister said he was also interested in seeing what the Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme had achieved to date and what new support programmes were required, especially since that area was an exciting one for Government, as it?? focuses its attention on moving young people towards entrepreneurial activity.

"One of the areas that I will be exploring is the extent to which we can have more collaboration across the various departments of Government, where their operations tend to lend themselves to what is happening in another department. In the case of YES, that programme is seeking to develop entrepreneurs and to provide vital assistance in various areas, accounting, business advisory services, and so on, with a view to ensuring that young persons who enter the business arena can actually support

sustainable business. So there are some ways in which we can achieve some cross-functional synergies and I will be looking at exploring some of them along with the department," he asserted.

The Minister said practically every component of Government’s activity or planning must be informed by gender data and stressed that the Bureau was a very vital department to his Ministry.

On completion of the tours, he disclosed that a retreat would be held to review the priorities and then the officials would settle down to focus on achieving the mission of the Ministry.

Minister Lashley’s tours will continue tomorrow, Friday, March 26.

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