Green says youth information centres in shambles, outlines plan for rebranding
Floyd Green, the state minister for youth, says the network of youth information centres (YICs) is in a poor state and will need to be revamped.
"When I got briefed and I did some checks, we have centres that have conditions that young people can't operate in," he told The Gleaner.
"It's almost [like] you want to say that it's at a stage where our youth centres - maybe shambles is a strong word - but [face] significant deterioration, significant challenges as it relates to infrastructure, as it relates to security, as it relates to location, and then there are even different challenges for ones that are new in relation to their use."
Green indicated to The Gleaner that funding would be prioritised for refurbishing work on the centres.
He also disclosed that the centres would be rebranded to focus more on entrepreneurial activities for young people.
Green has also said he is exploring the possibility of utilising community centres as youth innovation centres.
Responding to the claims of poor infrastructure in YICs, Opposition Spokesperson on Youth Lisa Hanna pointed out that there are 11 operational YICs and plans were being made to expand before she demitted office after the February 25 general election defeat of the People's National Party.
"We had to close the one in Kingston because of asbestos in the pipes and we needed to find a new space. We were moving to do this in this financial year, as well as find a bigger space for the one in St Mary," Hanna, the former youth minister, said in an email response to The Gleaner.
"But we built three brand new centres in Hanover, Clarendon and St Catherine."
Pointing to entrepreneurial programmes provided by the National Youth Service (NYS) and a policy decision to have the NYS and the YICs operate from the same physical space, Hanna argued that entrepreneurial programmes were increased under her tenure.
"Changing the name is mere semantics because the programmes are already in place. My interest is in the quality training for our young people for the jobs that exist and are to exist in the future," she said.
"Our face-to-face youth programmes at the Ministry of Youth and Culture from 2012-2015 trained and impacted more than 280,000 young people," she said.