Member of Parliament and Parliamentary Secretary in The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Travis Robinson, says if governance in countries across the Caribbean is to be effective, the voices of the millennial generation must be heard.
“Their voices must be taken into account in the decision-making process at all levels of governance,” said Mr. Robinson, who was giving the keynote address at the 5th Caribbean Youth Leaders’ Summit in Runaway Bay, St. Ann, on September 30.
He noted that due to advances in communications technology over the last 30 years, the youth of the 21st century are the most informed, exposed and connected generation in the history of humanity.
He said that leaders must emerge from among the youth to take their place at the table where decisions are made.
“If we take a look around this room this morning, we have reason to be very hopeful, because here we see the faces of youth leaders from around the Caribbean,” Mr. Robinson pointed out.
He reminded them that leadership is not just about politics, “so as a young person with leadership potential, if you do not have the appetite for the rough-and-tumble arena of politics, you need not worry. Society is comprised of many arenas where your leadership expertise is much needed”.
He cited the environment, community activism, media, education reform, and advocating for the rights of the marginalised within communities as some of the areas in which youth can play a role.
Mr. Robinson noted that preparation of the youth for leadership begins at the level of the family, which is the foundation of society, nurturing children to become responsible adults.
He said that given its critical role in the development of society, the strengthening of the family unit should rank among the highest priories of governments across the region.
“The truth of the matter is that if the family does a relatively good job at nurturing our youth, then that is three quarters of the work of youth development,” he contended.
In the meantime, Mr. Robinson called for the strengthening of the trades and vocational programmes in schools across the region as a long-term solution to crime.
The move, he said, will ensure that persons are equipped with skills to become productive members of the society.
“Young people are full of restless energy. Beginning in the early years, from age six, seven or eight, we need to positively harness that energy by involving young persons in positive extracurricular activities,” he added.
Photo: Garwin Davis