National Youth Week will take in Barbados from September 24 to 30, 2017 and Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley has said the event has come at the right time in light of what is happening with Barbadian youth.
Lashley, along with representatives of the Caribbean Youth Environment Network, CARICOM Youth Ambassadors Program and Head of Departments within the Ministry came together for the launch of the Youth Week on Friday at the Ministry headquarters.
Lashley said the week of activities will give youth the opportunity to put their best on display and in that way divert attention away from the “negative and antisocial” behaviours of a select few.
The concerns of youth being at the helm of gun-related crimes has been a focal point in national dialogue in light of the ages of those who have been going before the courts charged with offences such as murder and gun possession.
The week, titled ‘Forging Sustainable Futures Through Youth Participation’ includes a Youth Parade and Church Service, National Volunteer Day, a National Youth Consultation, Ministry Open Day, Youth Parliament Debate and a ‘Battle of the Sexes’ Netball Match.
Lasley said the Ministry Open Day will be a great opportunity for the public to view first-hand what positive ventures young ones have been up to. The Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme (YES), the Barbados Youth Service (BYS) and the Youth Development Programme (YDP) are a few groups involved in the Open Day.
“Once they come and hear, they will not accuse the government of not having any programs to deal with the various antisocial issues that occur. The programs are there and young people are taking advantage of these programs to transform their lives. It is a vote of confidence that tax payers monies are in fact being put to use in ensuring that our young people have a safety protection net to keep them away from negatives of this world.”
There will also be a National Hurricane Relief Drive as part of the National Volunteer Day where school-based and youth organisations will mobilize to collect items for those affected by Hurricane Irma and Maria.
Another highlight of the week of activities will be the National Youth Consultation slated for September 27. It will be a roundtable discussion exploring topics such as advocacy and demonstration, moving policy to practice, training and education and environmental protection.