As the world becomes more technologically advanced, upcoming generations must not use smart technology for meaningless or potentially harmful purposes but to build their communities and help others.
This counsel came from Minister of Information, Broadcasting and Public Affairs Senator Lucille Moe as she addressed the Rotary Club of Barbados South’s Vocational Services Dinner and Award Ceremony at the Accra Beach Hotel and Spa.
“There was a time when young people were influenced by parents, siblings, extended family, the church and ‘people in the village’. But now, the constant pervasive influences come from cyberspace, from known and unknown individuals, business houses and transnational groups.
“They are also subjected to influencers who promote their own tastes in fashion, food and lifestyle, and our youth are bombarded by these images and messages; and while some may consider it merely entertainment, it can have long-lasting worrisome effects on behaviour. It also promotes a ‘get rich quick’ and ‘me first’ mentality, which are not traditional Barbadian values and compete with the principles of giving back and vocational excellence.”
The Information Minister, who has been a public relations practitioner for several years, also spoke out against the “irresponsible circulation of embarrassing, graphic or prejudiced news about private citizens”, and told the club members that when they interacted with young people, they should encourage them to avoid spreading that kind of information.
“You should encourage them to ask, when they see such sensationalistic video clips, ‘would I want someone to circulate this information about me?’ We need to curb this voyeuristic trend implicit in this too-easy circulation of anecdotal clips,” she said.
Moe suggested that the solution was not to restrict information technology or social media, but “to appreciate the value of broadcasting technology in building communities, reaching wide audiences and developing followings”.
She commended the Rotary Club for its Rotaract Club which caters to people between the ages of 18 and 30, and its Mini Model United Nations Assembly.
“The Rotaract Club helps them develop their professional and leadership skills, while the Mini United Nations Assembly exposes students to topical international agencies, and creates awareness of the substantive considerations attached to those issues as well as the respective country positions based on national interest,” the Minister noted.
Rotary honoured three outstanding Barbadians for their service to the community in their various disciplines.
The current President of the Barbados Association of Retired Persons (BARP), Marilyn Rice-Bowen, was recognized for her work with the Young Women’s Christian Association in establishing its breakfast programme, and her work with the National Organization of Women in highlighting violence against women and lobbying for changes to legislation.
Chef Peter Edey received an award for his work over the last 20 years in getting Barbadians in the hotel and restaurant industry to use more locally grown and produced food items in their establishments, and developing a culinary institute which has now gained international recognition.
Retired teacher Patrick Frost, a former long-serving General Secretary of the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union and the first General Secretary of the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados’ was honoured for his contribution to the teaching profession and the trade union movement. (DH)