A permanent home could be on the way for the Barbados Youth Service (BYS) in the very near future.
Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth Stephen Lashley made the announcement this evening as he addressed the passing out parade for BYS trainees at the Paragon, Christ Church base.
“I’m pleased to announce that the Government is actively considering the provision of resources at Paragon to construct a permanent home for the Barbados Youth Service in the not so distant future,” said Lashley, while hailing the BYS programme as an important one for young people looking to make a fresh start.
“As you are aware, for two years our young people were not able to benefit from this programme which for many is the only chance they would have to positively redirect their lives,” acknowledged the minister.
He said the permanent home would cost about $4.5 million to construct and would allow the BYS — which is currently accommodated by the army at Paragon — to meet the increasing demand for its services.
“A permanent home will allow the BYS to host two intakes per year, catering to 120 persons per intake or 240 persons per year instead of the current intake of only 80 persons annually. There should be a time in the not to distant future where we could have as much as 500 trainees being a part of this programme,” he added.
A seemingly impressed Lashley described the BYS programme as “second to none in the Caribbean” while suggesting that every young Barbadian should be exposed to its training no matter their status in life.
He also encouraged the trainees, who have completed their first three months of the yearlong intensive training programme and are about to enter into Phase Two, to make wise use of the available opportunities.
“The journey has only just begun. You owe it to yourself to be an excellent example of excellence to your family, friends, peers and others in the community in which you live. Once you have completed your training you owe it to Barbados and yourself to transform at least one young person in your community who would not have had the opportunity of being apart of this programme,” the youth minister added.
He promised parents and guardians that the BYS would continue to provide an exemplary service for their children and wards.
“Barbados needs and deserves this. They are indeed the future of our nation. They are the persons who will take Barbados forward over the next 50 years of its existence,” he said.
This evening the students performed various drills, routines and cultural presentations to the delight of the intimate gathering.