Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley (centre); UN Secretary-General; António Guterres; UNCTAD’s Secretary-General, Rebeca Grynspan; Commonwealth Secretary-General, Baroness Patricia Scotland; CARICOM Secretary-General, Dr. Carla Barnett, and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Dr. Jerome Walcott, with personnel and prospective youth candidates from FutureBarbados. They were attending a “Rapid Talk” session this morning on the grounds at Ilaro Court. (S. Forde-Craigg/BGIS)

Young persons in Barbados have been encouraged to challenge the status quo on issues that affect them, and to bring ideas to the table that could be implemented to build a better future.

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, along with Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, shared inspirational messages as they pledged their commitment to empowering youth, during a FutureBarbados “Rapid Talk” session this morning on the grounds at Ilaro Court.

Prime Minister Mottley stated: “Please continue to dare to dream, but always be determined to do, because it is the anchoring of both, that will bring progress…. Life is not only about success; it’s about pitfalls and support and resilience needed to get up.”

She continued by noting that she intends to give young people not only a voice at the table, but will offer opportunities to turn their suggested solutions into action. 

“I see myself just as your bridge and a bridge to be able to unlock opportunities.… I cannot leave this place, leading a government that does not unlock and unleash the potential of young people in our region and in our world,” Ms. Mottley emphasised.

Secretary-General Guterres pointed out: “My generation has failed; your generation cannot. And the first thing that is important is a transfer of power from my generation to your generation to be accelerated. It’s time for my generation to understand that you need not only to be able to be listened to, but you need to have a difference on the decisions that are taken and on the construction of the future….

“Don’t forget that decisions we take today will be reflected in the future to come.  We need to include the future in the decisions that we take today. And this is not yet happening, in fact, there are some improvements. So, your generation needs to be strong; needs to ask for intervention; needs to organise yourselves, and I’m sure that this is what’s happening here, and I’m sure you will be well received by the older generation in Barbados, which unfortunately is not the case everywhere in the world.”

In addition, Mr. Guterres told those in attendance that they have the opportunity to have the right policies in place because “the voice of Barbados is not proportional to the size of its opportunities [and] two things necessary for an intervention is intelligence, passion, and love for your country”.  

Also sharing similar sentiments and words of encouragement were UNCTAD’s Secretary General, Rebeca Grynspan; Commonwealth Secretary-General, Baroness Patricia Scotland; Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary-General, Dr. Carla Barnett; and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Dr. Jerome Walcott.

During the “Rapid Talk” session, 12 young persons, who are candidates of the FutureBarbados project, each shared the area they would wish to work on to improve the future for their generation. These youths were also joined by Maria Marshall, the well-known Harrison College and UNICEF environmental advocate.

Some of the areas discussed included: gender equality; climate change; a holistic approach to sports development and sports medicine; a digital trade economy; tech-utopia; blue carbon market; agri-business; CARICOM collective purchase agreements, and mental wellness.

sheena.forde-craigg@barbados.gov.bb

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