Young people must play an active role in helping to find solutions to the various social, economic and political issues that Barbados is currently faced with.
This is according to Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, who delivered the feature address at the opening ceremony of the National Youth Consultation yesterday at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre (LESC).
He said that they do not have the same time period that those who went before them would have had to find these solutions.
“The current issues that we face whether they relate to climate change issues, whether they relate to economic, social, political sustainability, these issues are real and we don’t have the luxury of time as our predecessors would have had to solve current-day issues. The current problems that we face, whether it is a problem of crime and violence in our communities, can be tackled by using alternatives to solving challenges that people have.”
Lashley therefore told them that rather than complain about how bad things are, they must advocate for change and bring some of their ideas to the table on how these matters can be resolved.
The Youth Minister said that these include how the Government can more equitably distribute its resources, so that the citizens of this country are on a more even playing field socially and economically, which is all part of fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals.
“These are the issues of you, the young people of Barbados; the issues of the public service – how we can better channel scarce resources to persons in need. Your goal would be not just observing what is going on, you have got to step up and be a part of solutions and while young people are agitating for change and I embrace that. It is very important to agitate for change, (or) as people say complain.”
He added that the important role of the youth has also been mentioned by the UN. “In wishing you every success in your deliberation today, let me remind you that sustainable development benefits all people now and in the future. In fact, young people have been described by the United Nations as the ‘torch bearers’ who have a central role to play in the successful implementation of the sustainable development goals. Today, as you seek to explore some of the conditions of our development in light of the Sustainable Development Goals, it is important that you do so against the background of our National Youth Policy, and against a framework that reflects our cultural heritage and our economic realities, and one that provides a strategic framework for youth development in Barbados.”