Bothered by a rise in delinquency among the country’s youth, the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports will soon roll out a package of development programmes targeting young people on the island.
Minister Stephen Lashley will announce the details shortly, according to Permanent Secretary Ruth Blackman.
However, speaking at the Errol Barrow Centre For Creative Imagination last night at the graduation ceremony for 11 youngsters who completed a programme in motion picture arts, Blackman gave a brief insight into the programme, saying it would include measures to boost the capacity of the Barbados Youth Service (BYS).
“The Ministry is increasing its efforts to find a permanent home for the Barbados Youth Service so that our intake of young people can be expanded beyond the 80 trainees per annum to the 300 it was before the dislocation engendered by the relocation of her majesty’s in 2005 allowed,” Blackman said
“We in Barbados are very concerned about some of the choices some of our young people are making. Delinquency is on the increase.”
However, while adding that the majority of the country’s youth were intent on making a positive contribution and that the “noise is coming from a minority no matter how loud that sound may become”, she stressed that the ministry remained concerned about the developments surrounding the youth.
“It is with this in mind that we are going to redouble our efforts as the programming for the youth is concerned.”
She said the plans included a national youth survey to collect empirical data for use in programme planning, but said in the interim youth commissioners were visiting some of the communities that are currently experiencing challenges and talking with the young people.
“We are listening to them, finding out what their needs are, and responding to suit. We are pressing on with assistance to all at-risk youths through the Barbados Youth Service, the Endless Possibilities Programme, and the Youth Mainstreaming Programme. All of these programmes give our young people a second chance.”
Blackman explained that a “critical” part of these programmes was the psycho-social counselling for young people and their parents in an attempt to change behavior and improve their lives.