Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Embrace women, youth

Regional countries are being told that increased involvement of women and the youth in their development will help to strengthen their capacity to face the future.

The observation was made by Acting Prime Minister of Barbados, Richard Sealy, as he delivered the feature address at the opening ceremony of the 39th Annual Conference of the Caribbean, Americas and Atlantic Region of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association at the Hilton Hotel on Monday morning.

The flag-raising ceremony at the start of the conference on Monday.
Speaking specifically to the involvement of women in politics, the Acting Prime Minister noted that women have moral, human, constitutional and demographic rights to electoral office. He made the point as he noted that the issue of the under-representation of women in regional parliaments is expected to be addressed during the 7th Regional Conference of Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians, which forms part of the conference.

“Indeed, one of the noble objectives of the Commonwealth is the fuller participation of women in parliamentary procedure and involvement in the po-litical life of our nations. Even though Caribbean women are world-renowned for having been the backbone of our societies for several centuries, there are still several challenges facing their selection as candidates and their election as Parliamentary representatives,” he noted.

To that end, he has challenged the women in the region to “dig deeper” into this matter during the conference, and where possible to look at the support systems necessary to enable women to exercise political careers, and come up with some fresh ideas that can solve this recurrent topic.

Turning his attention to the youth, he noted that in 2012 Barbados completed its National Youth Policy, in keeping with the pledge made in 1995 at the Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting held in Trinidad and Tobago, to formulate and/or review their National Youth Policies in anticipation of technological changes that would transform economies and societies of the region. His comments came as he noted that one of the recommended implemen-tation mechanisms of the National Youth Policy was the establishment of the National Youth Parliament of Barbados, which was recently created. He added that its members have been challenged to come up with solutions to the pressing issues, economic and otherwise, that are facing young Barbadians.

Speaking further to the policy, the Acting PM indicated that it found that in the wake of the recession, the primary concern of young people was the high levels of unemployment and under-employment.

“Naturally all the stakeholders in youth development saw enterprise, and in particular the spread of the entrepreneurship to all categories of citizens, as the only means of diversifying and growing our economy. Young people, by virtue of their numbers, their energy, their education, their creativity were expected to drive this entrepreneurial movement. But first they had to change the mindset that had propelled them to use education as a means of finding employment to one of using their intelligence to create their own employment and develop wealth,” he added.

With that in mind, he contended that all the countries of the region have an obligation to provide the youth with the technical and management skills to develop businesses and help diversify our economies. He said that even though it is unrealistic to expect everyone to become a business entrepreneur, research has shown that an enterprising employee is also an asset to his or her employer. (JRT)

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