The Freundel Stuart administration has embarked on a major project aimed at rescuing the island’s youth from a life of crime and violence.
Minister of Youth Stephen Lashley announced on Monday the establishment of CitUnity, an outreach programme targeting troubled communities in the City.
Speaking at a national consultation on the society at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Lashley said the programme was formulated through the Division of Youth, with input from residents and the Royal Barbados Police Force.
“This is all in an effort to arrest the slippage. It is hoped that through this consultation, recommendations will emerge that will inform the formulation of policies and programmes that will further assist us in this cause,” Lashley said.
The minister stressed that the programme, along with the Youth Mainstreaming Programme that gives young people a second chance to further their education, the Barbados Youth Service and the Youth Entrepreneurial Scheme, would address disengagement which leads to violence among the youth.
“We have introduced the Endless Possibilities Programme, which is a mentoring and job replacement programme which has seen over 40 companies coming onboard to offer job experience to at-risk youth,” he added.
Lashley noted that just over 120 young people have benefitted from the programme and 40 per cent have gained full-time employment with the companies to which they had been attached.
Meantime, the minister disclosed that the consultation on society would be extended, with plans to hold at least three such events.
Following the plenary at Monday’s consultation, participants broke out into interactive sessions on such topics as “Safeguarding Our Children, Safeguarding Our Future – Child Abuse and Neglect;” and “The Tragedy Behind Closed Doors – Domestic Violence and Society’s Response.”