Greater focus needs to be placed on highlighting the positive actions of young people, instead of stressing the negatives.
That is the view of Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth Stephen Lashley, who has accused the public of “lumping young people into one”.
Lashley made the comments this morning while addressing the National Youth Consultation at Radisson Aquatica Resort, Bay Street, St Michael. The event was held as part of National Youth Week 2015 under the theme All Things Youth.
“We often reflect on how our young people are doing, and there are questions being raised as to where young people are going. And I believe we make the mistake often of trying to lump our young people into one,” Lashley told the several schoolchildren, drawn from across the island’s secondary schools.
“And that is when we get the discussion going about deviance, about crime, violence; and we do not focus enough energy, in my view, on the very positive attributes of many of our young people.”
Lashley said the media was especially guilty of promoting negativity.
“You cannot be derailed by stories of negativity. Oft-times, of course, the media reflects some of the negative stories; and I think they need to reflect more positive stories.
“I believe that if we consume ourselves by negative reports of some young people who have fallen along the way, without balancing or reflecting on some of the brilliant stories, and there are many of them, then we will be selling ourselves short,” he said.
Lashley urged the participants in the one-day meeting to believe in themselves and to set high goals. He told them it was their responsibility to transform the lives of others, through their actions.
“We need to believe more in ourselves as young people. I hope that this opportunity to dialogue is not one that you lose sight of in your role. It is important to attend these forums, but it is important to hear your voices.
“We need to hear your voices; we have to have your contribution if we are to transform our economy in the manner I believe it has to be transformed,” he noted.