National effort need to focus on Bahamas youth development

NASSAU, Bahamas, Monday May 27, 2013 – Focus on the youth now to secure a better future for all of us, urged Zhivargo Lang, former cabinet minister and founder of The Bahamas Institute for Youth Leadership Development (BIYLD). 

“While there are many issues to address in changing our fortunes, there is one area that needs intense focus and that is the area of youth development,” asserted the former state minister for finance.

“There is a perfect storm hitting our young people. It is a perfect storm of limited economic opportunities with few jobs, declining spiritual strength and the sustained massive pull of a material hip culture,” Laing added. “Together, these forces have created a critical mass of money needy, morally challenged, trend chasing young people either despairing or willing to do anything to get ahead.” 

Fortunately, he noted, “these young people are ours and they can adopt new choices toward self-enrichment; and they can find power to increase their sense of purpose and fulfillment in life.”

Rather than trying all the usual approaches, the finance educator and youth mentor called for “a truly audacious national effort at reaching out to the thousands of young Bahamians in need of direction, assistance, inclusion and empowerment.”

To be effective Laing urged the youth initiative to be a joint effort between the public and private sectors: “I call for a no-holds barred partnership between parents, government, business, the church and civil society to love the Bahamian youth in a way never before seen by our community.”

He stressed “this love” had to be expressed through actions which included “words of positive affirmation and encouragement; words of instruction about how to better themselves; and words of inspiration.”

Jobs of all kinds were key to success he opined: “Opportunities to work either voluntarily for those who will, part time for those who must, or full time for those who need to.” 

Business opportunities had to be opened up to youth “with the ideas and initiative to pursue them,” in addition, he said, to “participation in a quantum way in the varied fields of endeavour in our nation, ranging across government, church, business, and civil society.” The economic cost of this effort could never be more than the social and economic cost of not doing anything. Even a small effort could make a big difference, he advised.

The older people also had an important part to play by transferring knowledge and culture, described by Laing as: “Inter-generational engagement, where deliberate opportunities are provided for our senior citizens to interact productively with our young people toward providing them with both a history of themselves and wisdom by which to live.”

Laing issued a clarion call to the young people of The Bahamas “to take a look at themselves and know that they have a major role to play in their own development – that they are truly the masters of their own fate when connected to God, their source.”

He called on youth to “choose the path of life and to know that within them are the keys to all their hopes, dreams and aspirations. That no hating, envying or fighting can secure for them what vision, purpose, intention, attention, planning and sustained action can secure for them.” 

He also cautioned youth “not only to avoid crime but also to repudiate it, that is, to regard it as a thing so detestable as to be shunned whether practised by family, friend or foe. I call on them rather to focus their energies on the enlargement of their inward person that has the potential to be and do things that will blow their minds in the most positive of ways. I call on them to give themselves to training and personal development.”

Laing declared The Bahamas had to act boldly and it was his firm conviction “that if we will change this nation, we must inform, instruct, inspire and empower the next generation of Bahamians to live out the abundant life that God purposed for them.”  Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)