Mayor of Kingston, Senator Desmond McKenzie, has added to the call for compulsory national youth service for out-of-school young people.
Speaking at the closing ceremony for the Emergency Response Training programme on June 17 at the National Youth Service (NYS) training site in Chestervale, St. Andrew, Mayor McKenzie said the high unemployment rate among young people, underachievement at school, and lack of ample training opportunities, have contributed to the escalation of anti-social behaviour among the youth.
“I am one who believes that if our youth continue to decline the way they are declining now, where children are becoming mothers and children are becoming grandmothers and grandfathers, then the time has come for the Government of Jamaica to consider compulsory youth service for those persons, who are not in school,” he stated.
The many training programmes being offered by the NYS, he argued, including the National Summer Employment Programme, and the Jamaica Values and Attitudes Programme, could assist in changing the anti-social behaviour and high unemployment rate among young people.
His Worship the Mayor of Kingston and St. Andrew, Councillor Desmond McKenzie addresses participants of a four-week emergency management training programme, which was organised by the National Youth Service (NYS). Some 275 NYS participants attended the graduation ceremony, held on June 17, at the NYS training facility, at Chestervale, St. Andrew.
“Over 150,000 youths are not enrolled in school. These numbers are frightening and this is where your organisation has to come in,” he said, adding that the NYS has been able to reach youth by emphasising behavioural modification, volunteerism, patriotism and career development.
Mayor McKenzie commended the work of the NYS in helping young persons, despite financial challenges.
“Despite the restrictions created by the shortage of resources, the NYS has been committed to the job of tackling these issues and seeking to make a sound impact on youth unemployment as well as on those who are not enrolled in the school system,” he said.
Some 275 young people drawn from several parishes benefitted from the four-week Emergency Response Training course, which was organised by the NYS in collaboration with the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), and other stakeholders. It is aimed at strengthening the country’s disaster mitigation capacity.