STATEMENT FROM PERMANENT SECRETARY IN THE MINISTRY OF YOUTH AND CULTURE ON ISSUES RAISED AT THE HUMAN RESOURCE AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE OF PARLIAMENT
The Ministry of Youth and Culture was invited to the sitting of the Human Resource and Social Development Committee of Parliament on Tuesday, September 15, 2015 to provide members with a full understanding of the Green Paper on the National Youth Policy 2015-2030, and to state the expectations of the Committee in carrying out its review.
In responding to issues raised at the sitting of the Committee, the Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Sherrill O’Reggio Angus, noted that in keeping with the Ministry’s mandate to provide spaces and opportunities for youth engagement and empowerment, the Ministry of Youth and Culture through its various agencies and programmes, has trained over 51,000 young people and placed approximately 36,000 in seasonal and permanent employment.
Additionally, thousands have been trained in youth leadership, entrepreneurship, advocacy and skills training certification. This financial year, the Ministry has earmarked approximately $330 million in the budget for the implementation of programmes and youth related initiatives.
There are 11 Youth Information Centres (YICs) and 13 National Youth Service (NYS) Offices island wide. Approximately $260 million, through co-funding from the Inter-American Development Bank under the Youth Development Programme (September 2009-June 2015), was spent to establish the last three YICs and NYS Offices in Clarendon, Hanover and St Catherine. The Trelawny YIC should have been completed under that programme, however, in spite of all efforts, to date, the requisite approvals have not been received.
In the opening and operations of the YICs, the Ministry has sought to include a wide cross section of stakeholders, including respective Members of Parliament and other Ministries and Agencies in engaging young people in the spaces they occupy.
To this end, various communication strategies have been employed, including: social media, websites and community outreach initiatives. The Ministry continues to find new avenues of engagement.
The Ministry of Youth and Culture is committed to establishing the remaining YICs and intends to do so over subsequent financial years. The Ministry looks forward to the feedback from the Committee, through its deliberations and submissions considered, in order to finalize the National Youth Policy 2015-2030.