With the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) still recovering from a 30-nil defeat at the polls last year, one of its members is suggesting that there is a need for young, fresh blood to take the lead.
Additionally, St Michael North West representative for the DLP Ryan Walters said there was a need for a wider involvement of youth in the planning of the country’s future.
He made the comments while addressing a party function on Saturday at the DLP’s George Street headquarters.
“Even without hard evidence, I believe we have a sense that much of the youth has left the DLP, and like myself, the DLP too must again place the youth back at the forefront of the party’s agenda. The party has a massive task ahead if it is to regain its place in government, and doing this requires that we recapture the trust and aspirations of the public, and youth in particular, to chart a prosperous, fair and sustainable way forward for the party and the country as a whole,” said Walters, who said he intends to place youth affairs at the forefront of his agenda.
Walters, who took over from former Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler, is seeking to unseat the reigning Barbados Labour Party (BLP) Junior Minister Neil Rowe in the next election.
Walters said he believed the country was still lacking opportunities for the youth and his party was poised to create the change needed.
However, he said “as a party and as a country we would be deluding ourselves into thinking that charting this path can be done without genuine, longstanding participation and the prioritization of the youth in all that we do”.
“The DLP and the country need a youthful and agile approach to how it thinks and operates. Barbados’ development can’t continue to be held back by the same age-old approaches and problems that have been ongoing for a generation,” he said.
“We live in an era where we must be agile, innovative, technologically savvy, aware of the new and emerging opportunities and have a modern approach to governing our society, and who better to bring these characteristics than the youth,” he added.
He told party supporters that it was important for the party leaders to speak about the plans to grow the economy and properly facilitate the youth in a range of sectors including sports, renewable energy, information and communication technology, entrepreneurship, videography and the creative sector.
“We can’t growth and diversify this economy and better facilitate young people without putting some thought into the culture and the way we do things. As a party we must be forward thinking and explore policies such as flexi-time, the 24-hour economy, facilitating young people to work and contribute from their personal spaces, support digital communication, a 21st approach century education. We must rethink the cost of being connected for young people, open access policies for wi-fi, how do we facilitate unlimited data plans and unshackle young people from unnecessary limitations,” said Walters.
“That is why we must go to people where they are and include them in all that we do. Some young people may want to create their own niches in animal farming, husbandry, hospitality and cuisine, tourism, marketing. These individuals too, must be allowed to make a living and prosper doing so. But the fact of the matter is if this party is really and truthfully looking to the future it must focus on the future and that is the young people of this country,” he warned.
Stating that the youth were being held back by age-old problems, Walters said it was the constant lip service about creating opportunities that was preventing them from propelling the country forward.
“For years we been talking a big game about facilitating the youth. None have talked a bigger game than this government. But ask young people today how they feel about their current circumstances and it becomes evident that much more needs to be done, and the DLP could get this done,” he insisted.
“We’ve been getting plenty lip service and ill-conceived policies from this administration, but when you investigate the substance, the youth are no better off. The government has been bringing on individuals that I have to question what is the real value that they can bring to drive a prosperous, fair and sustainable future,” he said. (MM)