The troubling issue of youth unemployment was debated in the House of Assembly today.
But it was not business as usual as the three-hour discussion was conducted by young people representing a number of regional states.
Barbados’ Roshanna Trim, the Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, led off the discussion on a resolution which stated that youth unemployment is the collective responsibility of the Government, private sector and the individual.
“We cannot allow youth unemployment to steal our future, we cannot allow it to destroy the progress that we have made as a region, we cannot allow the recent global economic downturn to destroy an entire generation. We need to protect the future that we have as a region [but] we cannot if our youth are unemployed,” she stated, to loud applause from the members on her side.
In response, Leader of the Opposition Krystal Hoyte, shadow Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs and Office of Prime Minister, said the resolution did not fully take into account the peculiarities of Small Island Developing States.
She highlighted three challenges facing the youth – lack of education, under qualification and lack of specialisation.
“When we say that youth employment is the collective responsibility of the private sector, the Government and the individual you must never forget that for many SIDS, the private sector is not locally owned and is largely foreign direct investments. On one hand you cannot push entrepreneurship to compete through foreign companies whose profit rely on our dependence on them and expect them to assist you in any great way,” Hoyte responded.
Representatives of the Cayman Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, Nevis, Guyana, Bermuda, and the Bahamas took part in the 10th Regional Youth Parliament of the Commonwealth parliamentary region . It was the first of its kind to be held in the House of Assembly in Barbados.