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Unattached youth take centre stage this month

Published:Monday | November 2, 2015 | 12:00 AM


As activities get under way to celebrate Youth Month, both the Government and the Opposition have sought to appeal to unattached youth.

In her Youth Month message, Minister of Youth and Culture Lisa Hanna highlighted the work of the Government in making young people aware of opportunities available to them. She said $87 billion was spent in the last fiscal year on youth-development initiatives.

The ministry, through the National Youth Service, has continued its thrust to engage unattached youth. This, the minister says, is reflected in the theme for Youth Month this year, '#IAmConnected'.

"The theme #IAmConnected represents three elements. First, the theme highlights the need to reach out, particularly to unattached youth, ensuring that they are aware of, and are able to access opportunities for their holistic development and empowerment," she said.

According to Hanna, "Specific attention will also be paid to a number of other areas, including youth engagement in spiritual activities, connecting young people with labour-market opportunities, and helping young people to understand their role in the protection and retention of Jamaica's rich cultural heritage."

It is expected that more than 25,000 young persons will benefit from Youth Month activities.




Opposition Spokesperson on Education and Youth Senator Kamina Johnson-Smith has criticised Hanna for what she calls a lack of engagement with young people.

She questioned the $87 billion spent on youth initiatives and called on the minister to outline details of the expenditure.

Johnson-Smith also urged the minister to present a plan to deal with violence against youth.

"In June 2014, the minister of youth announced a national action plan for an integrated response on youth and violence. In her sectoral report this year, she announced it again, but to date, we are no clearer about this plan, so I have some questions for the minister and the first one is: Minister, where is your plan?" she asked.