Youth Minister lauds young people's contribution to society
Minister of Youth and Community Development, Adrian Forde
Minister of Youth and Community Development Adrian Forde wants to see new partnerships and efforts aimed at removing the barriers being faced by the nation’s youth.
And he has called on those within his own government, the private sector, trade unions, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and civil society to work together to ensure our youth are less vulnerable to exclusion and have access to more opportunities.
In his message to mark the observance of International Youth Day, the Minister said many of the nation’s young people have made positive contributions to national development, and this was in spite of several challenges.
“Contrary to popular belief, the vast majority of our youth [can] record experiences that make us proud as a nation. The engagement in positive and productive activities like the extraordinary performances they record in sports, their accomplishments in cultural pursuits, the interests and exploits in technological development, their leading role in innovation and entrepreneurial pursuits and their participation in voluntary work and contributions to the discourse on topics that are of national interest, are some of features of the youth population that are deserving of greater attention.
“As some may want us to believe, doom and gloom is not the pervasive feature of our youth. This does not in any way deny our deep awareness and concern of the issues of unemployment where over 30 per cent of youth are without work or are underemployed; the negative impact of crime both as perpetrators and as victims; the incidence of unsatisfactory educational attainment for significant numbers; the weight of HIV and STIs on this vulnerable population particularly as the prime sexual reproductive group; the impact of substance abuse on their development and the other myriad challenges they and their families face,” Forde pointed out.
However, he stressed these problems were not unique to Barbados, adding that they were some of the main topics of discussion at the regional and international level.
The Youth Minister, in his statement, also noted that his Ministry and other stakeholders, through several innovative programmes and proven, sustainable strategies, were striving for improvement of the circumstances that befall Barbadian youth.
“We remain steadfast in our commitment to place youth at the centre of the national development agenda. Our vision is that Barbados will be transformed into the best place in the world for young people to live, learn, create, do business, play, work, raise children and dream. My message to young Barbadians is that we have your back.
“We will work together to ensure your entry in the labour market, build your capacities and connect them with better working opportunities. We will seek to foster innovation, support young entrepreneurs to create businesses and develop tourism opportunities. We will endeavour to reduce the risks that confront your development and generally create the environment for you to prosper, Forde said, adding that while it will call for much effort and time, it was obtainable.