Creating sustainable jobs is one of the primary aims of the Social Identity Renewal & Integrated And Upliftment Strategy (SIRIUS), says Minister of Youth Affairs Stephen Lashley.
Addressing the official launch of project at the Spirit Bond, Wharf Road in The City yesterday, Lashley said: “That is the challenge going forward. The economy in Barbados is really about to shift in terms of its focus, and we cannot do that without empowering young people and showing them the way in which they can build lasting jobs.
“Some time ago I asked some young people how many of them had cellular phones. Now, this was at a school, and every youngster indicated that they had a cellular phone. We do not produce cellular phones in Barbados . . . as far as I know we import cellular phones.
“I said to the group, ‘How do you feel about producing cellular phones or even the software that is so critical to the operation of the hardware?’. No hands were raised; and they were quite satisfied to have daddy or mummy buy a cellular phone and they would use it.
“I was very cognizant . . . ,” added Lashley, “that what will happen in Barbados in the next five or ten years depends on how we position ourselves today. It is not beyond us to start telling our young people that they can actually develop cellular phones and that they can build cellular phones technology. They can create the next generation of cellular phones . . . .”
The minister said a component of the SIRIUS project would be the construction of cellular phones and employing of cellular technology. “That is a leap of faith,” he said, “because many of us do not even believe that we can do some of these things, not remembering that several years ago eastern countries did what we call re-engineer technology, and much of that technology from Europe and North America was re-engineered and now is being resold to North America.”
Lashley pointed out that some of the fundamental principles of discipline that informed commercial operations and informed persons when they got into positions of responsibilty were somehow under threat today. He said we had “to get back some of these key principles” and that we could not grow our economy without having a disciplined people.