Minister of Youth, Stephen Lashley, making a point
to the media while Permanent Secretaries in the
Division of Culture and Sports, Shirley Farnum and
the Division of Family and Youth, Irvine Best, look on.
(C. Pitt)

The private sector has been called upon to support more developmental programmes for young people.

Minister of Youth, Stephen Lashley, made the plea today while endorsing the Lock Da Stage dance competition which will be launched this Sunday, April 17, at Bump ???N Wine, Cavans Lane, The City.

Mr. Lashley commended Starcom Network for sponsoring the event. ??Persons often look to Government or the National Cultural Foundation as the agency to spur and start these kinds of initiatives or provide financial support. I have always made the point that the fascinating thing about the creative industry is that it allows for the private sector or an individual to come forward and take the lead . . .

"It can be a developmental tool for young people and I wish other private sector interests would actually see it as their role as implementers, that is, the ones who identify these kinds of opportunities, and then blaze the trail. We are keen to support and add our voice to activity of this kind, but we need to see a bit more of it happening," he maintained.

The competition is expected to attract dancers between the ages of 16 and 30 from across the island. They will compete in various genres of dance over the next two months and the overall winners will receive $1500 and a trophy.

Describing the initiative as exciting, Mr. Lashley stressed that it would provide an opportunity for the youth to unleash their creative talents. "I believe there is so much creative energy among our young people that the response will be overwhelming," he opined.

Mr. Lashley added that the competition was supportive of his Ministry’s vision of focusing on the positive aspects of young people and urged the media to assist in its promotion.

Assistant Advertising Manager of Starcom, Vilmore Johnson, said his organisation was keen to work continuously with young people. "We see it as paramount to be involved in something like this … It is an opportunity for young people to explore their talents in an environment where they are heavily criticised for deviant

behaviour. ??This is an opportunity to show Barbados and the wider community that there are a lot of good young people who can contribute in the arts and other areas," Mr. Johnson noted.

Proprietor of Bump ???N Wine, Alan Sheppard, also lauded the organisers of the competition, suggesting it would be great encouragement for the dance industry. "You cannot have a hit song these days without a music video and you cannot have a good music video without these latest dance moves, so it is a very critical part to the whole industry of exporting music," Mr. Sheppard said.

It is hoped that this competition will become part of the build-up to the Community Dance Fest which is organised by the Community Development Department.

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