• Today
    October 20

  • 12:01 PM

The Youth Policy

Tennyson Joseph,

Added 23 October 2012


In presenting this brief review of the Barbados Youth Policy bill and its attendant official and unofficial debate, it is imperative that I declare an interest.   Since 2001, I have been involved with youth policy formulation on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States and the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Indeed, among the ideas which I have expressed in published works such as the Commonwealth Youth Development Journal has been the insistence on seeing youth as “assets to be tapped, rather than as problems to be solved”, and on using a more progressive and development-focused approach to the formulation of youth policy in the region.   Thus, an emphasis on culture, sports and creative industries is a more advanced youth development policy than the building of juvenile detention centres. Closely associated with this view has been the related demand that youth issues be treated, not as a minor consideration in the development effort, but as central to any economic and social policy formulation. Since the very meaning of development implies a projection towards a future transformed condition, then it follows logically that there is no development plan that is not in some way a “youth policy”. It is on this basis therefore that the Government of Barbados must be congratulated for tabling and commencing the debate on youth policy in Parliament. While Opposition Member of Parliament Cynthia Forde might have been correct in her assertion that it was merely an attempt to pad the list of achievements to be claimed before the election, it is perhaps unfair that the Government can be accused of not delivering on its promises and yet denied praise when it has actually achieved. The Government and technocrats such as Cleviston Hunte, Derek Alleyne and Ivan Henry must also be congratulated for producing a document which captures most of the progressive youth development ideas advanced in the Caribbean.   Sadly, however, the advanced nature of the policy is largely a consequence of the lateness of Barbados in the production of a youth policy. Before Barbados, 11 of 15 CARICOM member states had developed youth policies. Barbados was therefore, as a result of the law of historical compensation, able to produce a document which captured the best youth development practices and ideas in the region.   Thus, the document identifies the majority of youth as “decent and hardworking” and quite deliberately captures “mainstream youth” concerns. In addition, the policy is tied to existing development plans such as the National Strategic Plan and the Human Resource Development Plan. Further, the proposed creation of an inter-ministerial council should also bring youth development more centrally into Government policymaking, and recognition of the role of the Barbados Youth Development Council will also ensure democratic participation. The tabling of the policy, however, is only a formal statement. Its intentions must now be fulfilled. • Tennyson Joseph is a political scientist at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, specializing in regional affairs. Email tjoe2008@live.com


Dos and Donts

Welcome to our discussion forum here on nationnews.com. We encourage lively debate, but we also urge you to take note of the following:

  • Stay on topic – This helps keep the thread focused on the discussion at hand. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article.
  • Be respectful – Meeting differences of opinion with civil discussion encourages multiple perspectives and a positive commenting environment.
  • Do not type in capitals – In addition to being considered “shouting” it is also difficult to read.
  • All comments will be moderated – Given the volume of comments each day, this may take some time. So please be patient.
  • We reserve the right to remove comments – Comments that we find to be abusive, spam, libellous, hateful, off-topic or harassing may be removed.
  • Reproduction of comments – Some of your comments may be reproduced on the website or in our daily newspapers. We will use the handle, not your email address.
  • Do not advertise – Please contact our Advertising Department.
  • Contact our Online Editor if you have questions or concerns.
  • Read our full Commenting Policy and Terms of Use.
comments powered by Disqus



What's Trending img
Toni-Ann Johnson img




Will you be making an effort to make your home more hurricane-resistant?