Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite??

Local service organisations have an opportunity to touch the lives of young people in a meaningful way.

So said Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs, Adriel Brathwaite, as he was speaking at the Progressive Optimist Club’s Installation Ceremony and Gala Dinner last Saturday evening.

He lauded the new club for its work so far, stating that the laws by which they abide; patriotism, fellowship, enthusiasm, dedication and community spirit were indeed needed in Barbados.

The Attorney General said that it was important for service organisations to create opportunities for young people, noting that "our young citizens are thirsty for persons who are willing to give of their time, persons who create programmes with the community in mind." The Minister stressed that it was imperative that young people were taught about more than just economic values, but instead adults should ensure that young people embraced some of the traditional values.??

He urged parents to fight to save young people from the negative influences out there, and pointed to the various images being portrayed in the media.

The Attorney General said he was saddened at the fact that 900 plus young men were currently incarcerated at Her Majesty’s Prison, Dodds, and he called on the services organisations to assist in their reintegration into society on release.

"I want to say to you, find them before they go to prison … don’t let them find out what their talents are in prison. Let’s see if we can nurture their talents and employ them and give them a better chance in this society," he urged.

International Vice President of the Southeast Region of Optimist International, Adrian Elcock, also heaped praise on the Progressive Optimist Club of Barbados for the work it has done since its formation last year. He reminded those present that it was the goal of Optimists everywhere to bring out the best in children, and he said he believed several of them were looking for role models in society.??

"Many of our youngsters want someone to listen to them, they are seeking guidance and knowledge, their very actions demonstrate that… they are looking for a message and they embrace the messenger who embraces them," he added.??

Since its formation, the Progressive Optimist Club of Barbados has undertaken a number of projects, including the makeover of Jones Primary School; provided relief to persons in St. Lucia affected by Hurricane Tomas; and spent time in the children’s ward of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

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