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St Lucia to adopt youth programme

marciadottin, [email protected]

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WITHIN THE NEXT couple of weeks, the Barbados Youth Action Programme (BYAP) will be adopted by St Lucia.And it will not be stopping there as the programme is mandated to be spread across the entire region.Director Alfred “Lumumba” Batson said the group had just recently concluded a successful trip to St Lucia and that country was in theprocess of drafting a St Lucia model.“We left Barbados on Father’s Day through invitation by the St Lucian government, which saw the value of the programme, and met with various ministers. We were given a tour of their prison and appeared on television and a radio talk show,” he said.Batson said the programme was endorsed by the United States Embassy, as well as the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, which had mandated it to be run throughout the region.The touring team consisted of Batson, Emmanuel Beryllia, Christopher Griffith and Government representative Hamilton Lashley.The next steps for the group include securing the keys to their office in Building No. 5, Harbour Industrial Park, St Michael, setting up a website, and choosing an official executive committee.Under its Returning Nationals from International Prison Systems programme, the group is looking to set up a halfway house for former convicts deported from the United States.Batson said BYAP had already received Non-Governmental Organisation Status and had a Facebook page.“No one organisation has the panacea for the problems plaguing youth and society, but what we are saying is that as a collective body let us all come together for the common good,” he said.BYAP was launchedin November last year following Batson’s deportation to Barbados following a 17-year stint in a United States prison. While there, he came across the Youth Assistance Programme and rose to become its coordinator. The programme seeks to reach out to youth to inform them out the dangers of making certain decisions and keep them on a path to success.Batson also said he wanted to thank Prime Minister David Thompson, whom he wished a speedy recovery; Hamilton Lashley; the Government of St Lucia; the US Embassy; the Barbadian public and the Rastafarian community for all their support. (CA)