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Youth leader calls for assistance to keep young people out of trouble

The new head of a youth organization is appealing to authorities to do more to assist the youth to save them from going down the wrong path.

Newly elected president of the Barbados Youth Development Council (BYDC) Kimberley Norville told Barbados TODAY that while there were programmes to assist “at risk youth”, what was needed was a more comprehensive system that would allow the youth themselves to say what assistance they needed.

The newly elected executive of the BYDC including president Kimberley Norville (third from right).
The newly elected executive of the BYDC including president Kimberley Norville (third from right).

She especially lamented recent crimes committed by young people.

“I think that more can be done. There is always more that can be done. The fact that we are seeing such increases in crime among the youth is proving that there is a need there that is not being met,” she said.

“We need to find out why our youth are falling down this bad line, why they are going down this path, why they do not want more for themselves and their future. It is saddening to hear of a 17-year-old or 16 year-old . . . considered to be armed and dangerous and the police are looking for them. We need our youth to want to take hold of their future and to want to grow up wanting more for themselves going forward, wanting to be a part of this nation and wanting to make it a better place and knowing that their value is needed in this country.”

Saying that Minister of Youth Stephen Lashley and other government officials were doing what they could to assist, Norville acknowledged “there is no band aid that can be slapped on to fix the problem”.

However, she said, existing youth programmes needed to be reviewed if they were not working and the necessary changes made.

Norville, who will serve as BYDC head for four years, took over the presidency from Sherice Francis who was in the position for two terms.

Addressing a brief handover ceremony at the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth today, Director of Youth Cleviston Hunte blamed some of the problems among the youth on their use of technology, and called on the youth group to help bring “some level of direction to the kinds of carnage that we are seeing within our society”.

He advised the new executive of the BYDC to remain strong amid the challenges.

“If you look in the newspapers every day you will begin to understand why your responsibility is so awesome, because ever [so often] there is a shooting in Barbados. We have to understand what are the internal dynamics that are causing young people to behave in the way in which they behave. Some of it has to do with out progress in technology,” he said, adding that many people were more inclined to settle matters through fighting with deadly weapons instead of talking or “fighting hand to hand”.

He pledged the continued support of the Government to the youth organization, adding that the National Youth Policy would be renewed “in short order”.

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