Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo (FP)

Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo would like to see some of the Barbados Youth Service’s (BYS) programmes adapted to the community level, to reach even more young people.

In a recent interview, Dr. Byer Suckoo stated that the Youth Commissioners have identified young people who are interested in joining the BYS programme but did not want to enlist in the residential phase of the BYS curriculum.?? Currently, the one-year programme begins with a three-month residential phase facilitated at the Barbados Defence Force’s, Paragon Base, in Christ Church.

"We encourage this programme because we know that it really does help to instil the right attitude and discipline in our young people, which we know many… are lacking.?? That’s important, but we still need to reach those others where they’re at…. We may have to …do some programmes, the skills training, for example, at the community [level] and then hope that eventually you can get them to do the residential component as well," she said.??

Dr. Byer Suckoo also stated that she would not opt to create a mandatory youth service, but rather, develop with the schools, a drive to get all students involved in at least one service organisation, not necessarily only school or uniformed groups.??

"We are hoping that all the schools will insist that every student belongs to at least one organisation.?? Some schools are doing it already we know that… because all the teachers, all the principals, acknowledge that when the students belong to [a group] it helps them to be more rounded and brings… the best out of them in terms of discipline," she opined.

Dr. Byer Suckoo explained that the new, bigger and permanent site of the Barbados Youth Service (BYS) at Hopewell Plantation in St. Lucy, would allow for a larger intake of 300 students per year. Last year’s intake was 90 students.

The Minister made these comments earlier this week, after a tour of a 20 acre site at Hopewell Plantation in St. Lucy, earmarked as the new home of the BYS. Surveying work will commence at the site shortly.

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