Mandatory National Youth Service: A good idea that could save our young people from themselves
by Arthur M.
The Barbados government’s plan to institute a mandatory ‘draft’ of young people between the ages of 15 and 29 for two years of community service is an excellent idea that should be implemented right away. The critics of the plan are welcome to voice their objections in a free society and although I share some of their concerns about ‘enforcement’ of the service, I vote yes. We must do it.
The need is too great and the benefits to the youths and the country are too precious to waste any time. Do it now!
Mandatory service in the National Youth Service serves many good purposes that have nothing to do with the promoted financial benefits. Joint mandatory service makes our youths work with each other for the common good. This will teach young people how much Bajans can accomplish if we work together.
Hopefully the lessons learned will continue after the two years service is completed and many will discover how fulfilling it is to become active in community service.
Serving your country will be taken to a whole new level for thousands of local youth.
Under a new National Youth Service, to be implemented by Government as part of the island’s new National Youth Policy, all Barbadians between the ages of 15 and 29 will be mandated to give hundreds of hours of civic national service spread over two years.
Government is hoping to gain “considerable” financial savings by deploying these youth “to youth development programmes such as the Holiday Camps, youth and community groups and sports clubs”.
… from Barbados Today All Must Serve
I suggest that for the first year of their participation in the programme, all young people do nothing else except clean up garbage around the island. During the second half of their service they can move into other specialized service areas but everybody should have to start by doing the first half of their service picking up garbage in organised work crews.
The mandatory nature of this ‘low’ physical labour no matter how wealthy or educated the family or individual will teach mutual respect throughout our society. Think of two Bajans meeting 20 years from now, one a bank manager and one a road worker: both will have served as youths doing physical labour picking up garbage, working with others both rich and poor.
Then there is the practical aspect of the first year garbage work: this country is awash in garbage to the point where it is impacting our ability to proudly host tourists. Tourism is our #1 economic foundation. Without it we would be finished. Look around Barbados right from the City to the roads and gullies: garbage and more garbage, so much garbage that our reputation is being attacked and any thinking person would have to agree that the place is looking badly.
Have you been along the ‘new’ boardwalk lately? Have you walked down some of the paths and gullies that used to be so beautiful? A piece of rubbish there and an old shoe there and a wrapper and soon anyplace becomes a rogue tipping site. The National Youth Service could keep these places clean and foster an increased awareness in the population.
If you have to clean it up you probably won’t contribute to the mess.
It is too bad that this good idea of mandatory service for our young people was so long in coming.
B’town garbage photo
courtesy of stolen from The Bajan Reporter