Young people on their minds: Minister of Youth, Stephen Lashley, sharing a joke with Managing Director of LIME, Alex McDonald, and??LIME’s Head of Marketing, Gail Niles.

The findings of a survey involving 1000 unemployed or disengaged young people across the island should be in the hands of the Minister of Youth, Stephen Lashley, by next week.

Mr. Lashley made this disclosure today after he endorsed LIME’s sponsorship of Voice of Barbados’ year-long Positive Vibes Youth Spotlight programme. He stated that the survey would be a revolving one and another 1000 young people would be targeted shortly.

The Minister said Government was anxious to hear from these young people as to what programmes they wanted to be involved in. "We want to then develop initiatives to give some kind of life to what these young people are doing…

??"It is an initiative I really want to appeal to the private sector to become a part of. Some of those young people may have had experiences where they did not do well at school, or have had problems with the law. But, we cannot turn our backs on them, we have to find ways in which we can reintegrate them into society and we are looking at some very interesting initiatives," Mr. Lashley stressed.

The Minister noted that his Ministry had recently completed a series of talks with representatives from key Ministries and the Commissioner of Police on how to stem youth deviance and crime. "We recognise that we have to adopt some new practices to deal with it… We have determined that we will do it by means of some social intervention programmes, that is, we will go into communities across Barbados and offer our young people different ways in which they can preoccupy themselves… The intervention programmes will be linked to developmental programmes," he explained.

Mr. Lashley commended LIME for sponsoring the programme and Voice of Barbados for developing it. He opined that a lot of time was spent focusing on the negative side of young people. "There are so many positive youths in Barbados that we should be acknowledging, encouraging and inspiring, so this programme, I believe, will go a long way towards that," he argued.

Managing Director of LIME, Alex McDonald, explained that a panel would be set up and some of those persons interviewed by the Voice of Barbados for the programme would receive a donation.

??"We will be giving a grant every year for a multi-year sponsorship. At the end of the year, we will say these … persons we think are worthy of our support in their venture. It may not be necessarily at the end of a year, but somebody may move us to the point where we want to give them a grant there and then based on what they are actually doing, … so that steps out of the regular sponsorship and moves into putting your money where your mouth and heart are," Mr. McDonald underscored.

He urged corporate Barbados to mentor young people, stating that it would be a wise investment which would pay dividends in the future. "We cannot just write off [young] people because they act differently from us and have different views and plans. We probably need to nurture them because those views and plans are going to be shaping where we are going. So we thought the Positive Vibes Youth Spotlight would be a wonderful way, every week, to hear about the positive things youths are doing…," the Managing Director stated.

The first series of Positive Vibes Youth Spotlight was aired last year. It will resume this month on Sundays at 1:30 p.m.??saustin@barbados.gov.bb

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