Christopher Thomas, Gleaner Writer
The Government is being urged to provide more skills-training opportunities as an option to those youngsters who might be tempted to get involved in the lottery scam.
"The Government does not provide enough job opportunities for persons," said Andrene Hutchinson, a member of an all-student panel from Herbert Morrison Technical High School in Montego Bay, St James, which participated in yesterday's Gleaner-Island Grill Youth Editors' Forum at the school.
"We are always encouraged to go for academic pursuits, but these don't always work out for us," added Hutchinson.
In speaking to the topic, 'Scam and Schemes versus Legitimate Endeavours', the students, while not endorsing the lottery scam, said it was an enticing option to unemployed persons seeking financial stability.
MAKE USE OF SKILLS
"If the Government does not try to do something immediately (to create legitimate opportunities), Jamaicans will use their talents negatively," said Kevon Richards. "If I have skills to contribute to my country and I am in a financially deprived situation, I will find my own way out of it if you won't help me."
The lottery scam is an illicit scheme used by local tricksters to fool American citizens into sending money under the guise that they had won a multimillion-dollar Jamaican lottery.
According to Hutchinson, the nation's youths are facing several challenges as it relates to their future. She said those who are less morally inclined see illicit activities as legitimate endeavours.
"As a nation, we should invest in production," said Hutchinson, highlighting areas such as music, the fashion industry, welding and other popular skills, which could spawn legitimate sources of income.
Petrona Lewis also endorsed the need to utilise Jamaica's available skills base to divert young people's creative energies into positive endeavours.
INVEST IN FOUNDATION
"You have persons who can do cosmetology, who are capable of drawing, of building things, and I think we need to invest in these things," Lewis remarked. "Everything starts from a foundation, and the youth are the future of Jamaica and the world at large. So we need to invest in this foundation, our youth."
According to Paula-She Hastings, the nation's youth are not inadequate in the areas of creativity or from an intellectual standpoint, arguing that channels should be found to harness these skills.
Lewis said there are many young persons who do not want to go to university but have other skills that can be invested in. She said efforts should be made to get them into the mainstream so they can make a positive contribution to society.
Hastings also subscribed to the view that a lot of creative energy that could be harnessed for the greater good was being wasted on illicit activities.
"All of these creative energies need to be diverted, and with the new economy being projected recently (technologically based), Jamaica has youths who can contribute to this economy, but the skills necessary are not being fostered."