Director of Youth Autherine Turnquest addresses the National Youth Forum on Tuesday morning at Calvary Bible Church, Collins Avenue. (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)
NASSAU, Bahamas – The Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture launched its National Youth Forum Tuesday with youth representatives from throughout Nassau and the Family Islands.
The Forum, held at the Earl Weech Auditorium of the Calvary Bible Church, Nassau was designed by the Ministry of Youth to educate young Bahamians about formulating, promoting, implementing and maintaining a National Youth Policy.
Programme moderator Ambrosine Huyler highlighted youth policies currently being employed in other countries throughout the Commonwealth. Many of the African nations analyzed at this forum practise incorporating the ideas of young people into daily public policies as a deliberate attempt to respectfully recognize their future leaders.
Forum participants reviewed policies in several of those African nations which designate a set number of parliamentary seats to be occupied solely by persons between the ages of 25 and 30 years old. Senior politicians are not permitted to vie for these seats.
Autherine Turnquest, Director of Youth, encouraged the group to examine the many factors affecting youth today and spoke to a national youth vision for Bahamian youth. The key areas of strategy in particular are education and training, youth employment and assisting youths to rise out of poverty, while targeting young people with disabilities, students, street children, young men and orphans.
The National Youth Forum falls in line with the government’s stated plan in its Manifesto 2007 to “strengthen and expand mentoring and apprenticeship programs for young adults”. The Ministry affirmed its commitment to developing youth services in the country and the principles and values underlying the national youth policy.
The Ministry also outlined the rights, responsibilities and obligations of young persons regarding to freedom of expression, protection from any form of exploitation, discrimination and abuse, the right to good parental care and to protect and conserve the environment for future generations.