Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, Dwight Sutherland. (FP)

The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment will explore new frontiers and create policies, opportunities and programmes, to engage and develop youth in Barbados, thereby contributing to the nation’s development.

Speaking this morning at the Ministry’s Youth Stakeholders’ Consultation at the Hilton Barbados Resort, Minister Dwight Sutherland, pointed out that a transformation in how youth are engaged is needed to address the deficiencies and problems that hinder their ability “to maximise their potential and make greater contributions to national development and thrive in a contemporary world”.

With today being Caribbean Youth Day, Minister Sutherland noted it was the opportune time for the Ministry, youth and key stakeholders involved in youth development, to hold a consultation, in order “to deconstruct and reconstruct the engagement of young people, the delivery of services and how the impact of these services is monitored and evaluated”.

Stressing that today’s youth are “digital natives”, the Minister explained that the mission of engaging youth must change to reach youth where there are, and the use of dated tools and indicators to measure growth and development must be up-scaled.

“It is therefore critical that technology be used as a base to maximise efficiency and scale but also to continuously measure the happiness and all round wellbeing of young Barbadians in real time, to provide solutions that are tailored to the needs of all subsections of young people leaving no one behind.

“We must empower and entrust young Barbadians to be equal partners in the engineering, navigating and piloting of the island’s long-term recovery and national transformation,” Mr. Sutherland said.

Director of Youth Affairs, Cleviston Hunte. (FP)

Director of Youth Affairs, Cleviston Hunte, in his remarks concurred with the Minister that the use of technology should be utilised to engage youth; and expressed the hope that the Youth Stakeholders’ Consultation will allow for youth and key stakeholders to “explore with frankness”, how to confront the road blocks and barriers in delivery of programmes and services being offered, and how the use of technology can be used to improve the delivery of programmes and services.

Principal Youth Development Officer, John Hollingsworth, pointed out that the consultation is the first of its kind to be held, as it involved not just youth, but key stakeholders in youth development such as NGOs, the church, youth groups (Scouts, Pathfinders) and private sector organisations.

Mr, Hollingsworth noted that at the end of the day’s discussions, the valuable information received would become “blueprints” used to help create policies and programmes. 

Some of the topics discussed at the consultation included culture, crime, training and entrepreneurship, intervention services and health.

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