Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Stephen Lashley wants more Barbadian youths to become entrepreneurs.
While explaining that 22.5 per cent of the population is made up of young people, Lashley complained that too few of them were pursuing their own business ventures.
“There is a need to see more innovation in Barbados,” Lashley said in his feature address at the opening ceremony of the National Youth Consultation at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
Organized by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, the Ministry of Environment and Drainage and the Caribbean Environment Youth Network, the consultation brought together over 20 youth organizations and secondary schools to discuss youth in sustainable development.
Lashley suggested that the country’s youth should look to create their own employment opportunities instead of depending on Government and the private sector for job creation.
“I believe that the issue of employment would not only be solved by actions of the private sector and Government. . . you the young people of Barbados have got to be part of the solution to unemployment among yourselves and unemployment among the more advanced age population.
“You have to . . . be able to use your imagination more creatively,” he emphasized.
The minister argued that it was the responsibility of the next generation of leaders and businessmen to create innovative ways to revive Barbados and make the country globally competitive.
“We need to recognize the importance of entrepreneurial activity. We need among our young people to start to engage our efforts and benchmark our efforts alongside your counterparts in the more industrialized countries,” he said.
“We have not over the years done enough to restructure our economy. Many of the challenges we have, challenges of productivity, challenges of making Barbados business savvy – Barbados has got to become a country where things happen quicker and there is a more efficient utilization of our time and resources. These are issues for you the young people of Barbados.
“Why hasn’t any other young person in Barbados solved the issue in relation to transportation for the Transport Board in Barbados? Why have we not solved issues pertaining to the Barbados Water Authority? You are the next generation of leaders and therefore you ought to use your youthful years in being productive, creative and in looking for the problems that confront Barbados today,” the minster advised.