Steve Lyston | Our youth are not beyond redemption
Dealing with the increase in criminal activities, most of which involves our youth, is not an impossible task. It is the responsibility of every leader within the nation - private, public and Church - but they have neglected the youth over the years and their focus singularly zoned to their version of economic development; having forgotten that economic development includes people, and the youth are people.
We are now dealing with a society of fatherless, husband-less, jobless, homeless people who have become hopeless and, as a result, careless and prayerless.
If we are going to bring change, we need to take responsibility and stop blaming the security forces of the nation for something we need to fix. For example, it is time for us to have a Ministry of Youth that is dedicated solely to dealing with the youth and their welfare without that ministry being attached to another portfolio. Furthermore, the minister of youth needs to be a vibrant individual, willing to think outside the box and embrace new ideas. I believe that the prime minister or his wife, Juliet Holness, would be best suited to take on that challenge at this juncture because as it stands, it is an issue that needs urgent attention if we are going to deal with crime and violence. We also need to involve persons such as Usain Bolt, Michael Lee-Chin and other successful persons to mobilise the youth.
If political parties can mobilise the youth to vote, why can't we mobilise them to bring positive change?
Assess inner-city, upper-class communities
Urgent assessments need to be carried out in both inner-city and upper-class communities in order to determine the needs and the skill sets that exist there; and begin to tailor seminars and empowerment sessions to motivate them, in addition to having the Ministry of Education on site to create opportunities. Oftentimes, all they need is a listening ear and someone to care.
Begin to put them into power teams to form groups like a business.
Make short-term loans available for the arts - for them to get training in the arts - training them on how to make short films, even with their phones.
Set up music studios to make music and animation, which is a multimillion-dollar industry - our youth are talented in these areas.
Begin to create economic zones within the inner cities - to include strips that facilitate stalls for food preparation and sales, and offer peddlers' licences to those who wish to make use of such an area.
In addition to food stalls, there can be artwork and craft stalls, where our youth are encouraged to use waste materials to create costume jewellery.
Set up at least one factory in each community to make shoes, children's blankets, pillows embroidered with the nation's flag on them, and market them especially to countries where the weather changes to cold fairly often. They could also be taught to make lunch boxes and utensils from recycled materials.
We need JAMPRO to rise up again and work for the community.
We need to train the youth in the area of hygiene and conflict resolution.
We need to train them in the areas of safe sex, the value of marriage, and proper parenting.
The University of Technology needs to revisit their course offerings and begin to offer six-week courses to the public, even in the areas of entrepreneurship.
Make use of the buildings left idle and pay the youth to carry out beautification programmes.
There are too many idle hands within the nation and even more people without vision to propel our youth forward. There are too many advisers on both sides of the House that are still living in the past, trying to hold on to it, sorely lacking 'new wine', and, sadly, the youth are not taking on the old mindset because they are not being offered anything new. They need hope and healing and they need to see a way forward.
There are so many people who have benefited greatly from the nation, they need to give back to the nation and become mentors. We need to go beyond political preferences and affiliations. We are entering a time when leadership is no longer what it used to be and if the situation with the youth is not fixed, then our nation will spiral downwards due to uncontrollable crime rates and hopelessness.