Under the theme Youth Engagement for Global Action the Division of Youth Affairs celebrated International Youth Day (IYD), by hosting a “Youth Summerplosion: Leh We Build a Vibe” concert, at the Wildey Gymnasium, to highlight the talented young people on the island. IYD was first observed on August, 12, 2000, and its purpose is to draw attention to a given set of cultural and legal issues surrounding youth.
It also provides the opportunity to celebrate and mainstream young peoples’ voices, actions and initiatives, as well as their meaningful, universal and equitable engagement.
Over the years, the Division celebrated the day with a message to the youth from the sitting Minister of Youth, and a variety of activities.
The concert included performances in dance, drama, drumology, spoken word, singing and instrumentals from youth, aged four to 29. There was also a sports floor- display in netball and basketball.
Those in attendance at the “Leh We Build a Vibe” concert were treated to rhythmic choreographed dance performances from the Haynesville Youth Club, Ayo Creative Ventures and the Israel Lovell Foundation dancers.
Describing himself as a rose that grew from the concrete, Theo Greenidge delivered a spoken word piece, addressing the oppression based on race in the world; while Alleyne School student, Kaylee Allman, filled the gymnasium with the melodic sounds of her flute instrumental.
Seventeen-year-old musician and vocalist, Reckon Drums, performed the self-produced and self-penned debut 2020 soca track “De Way How Ya Wine”.
Another vocalist, Tykairi Sargeant, though little in size, wowed the crowd with his ‘big’ voice in his solo rendition about hope.
Tykairi was recently awarded a silver medal in the vocal category of the World Championship of Performing Arts virtual competition, which is considered the “Olympics of the Performing Arts”.
A positive message was dramatised by former deputy head-girl of the Parkinson Memorial School and participant in the 2019 zonal talent Community Independence Secretariat parish talent competition, Endia Holder.
She depicted a scene where her friend was killed in a shootout in their neighbourhood, and instead of assisting the young girl, persons chose to use their cell phones to capture her last moments alive, and when Police were asking for eyewitnesses, no one came forward.
Endia’s dramatisation highlighted that this behaviour was not in keeping with community spirit and people should not be afraid to speak up when wrong acts are committed, and should be caring and helpful to one another.
Also during the ‘summerplosion’ concert Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, Dwight Sutherland, Representative of the UNICEF Eastern Caribbean Area Office, Dr. Aloys Kamuragiye, and CARICOM Youth Ambassador, Chad Monerville, delivered remarks to observe the day.
In his remarks, Minister Sutherland expressed his full support for the chosen theme “Youth Engagement for Global Action”, since it encapsulated Government’s philosophy on the importance of young people to the total development of Barbados.
He added: “The vision of the Government is to transform Barbados into the best place in the world for young people to live, learn, be creative, do business, play, work, raise children and more importantly, dream.”
Minister Sutherland also pointed out that Government is committed to developing policies and programmes that will engage and assist Barbadian youth in becoming the best “positive global citizens”.
He also revealed that the day marked the beginning of 50 Days of Activism, which will end on September 30, Caribbean Youth Day. Throughout the period, the Ministry would be focusing on the positive attributes and achievements of Barbadian youth.
“The Ministry will also conduct a series of strategic consultations with a cross-section of young Barbadians to finalise a disruptive and forward-thinking two-year programme that drives our national transformation agenda.
“This programme will seek to maximise our most highly valued assets, you our young people, by creating the concepts, policies and platforms needed for millennials and Gen Z to achieve their dreams and thrive in a contemporary world,” Minister Sutherland stated.
Representative of the UNICEF Eastern Caribbean Area Office, Dr. Aloys Kamuragiye, noted that today’s generation of young people is the largest in history, one quarter of the world’s population, and are “the most connected, the most active, and the most outspoken and open-minded generation the world has ever seen.
“They have the power to innovate, create and achieve lasting change for themselves, and for our world and with the right skills, training and education, they can do anything. But first, they must overcome a number of barriers that are holding them back – poverty, conflict and discrimination.”
In expressing his approval of the theme Youth Engagement for Global Action, CARICOM Youth Ambassador, Chad Monerville, explained that it empowered young people “to be active and included in the decision making processes, and to express themselves at all times whether through traditional channels or the thematic arts of dance, song and poetry.
“Principally, it is the expression of yourself and your creative thoughts, to shape the future of this world. At the local, regional and global level to ultimately enrich national and multi-national institutions.”
Mr. Monerville stressed that the youth being active, positive citizens is linked to their trust in local governance.
According to him, there must be transparency and inclusivity in the process of governance, with young people included in all decision making processes, so as to strengthen the capacities of institutions and build stronger democracies.
International Youth Day provides the opportunity to recognise the contributions and the potential of young people around the world, but it is also a day for governments to re-commit and outline plans to develop the youth, the future leaders of tomorrow.