“If Bermuda is to successfully tackle violence and anti-social behaviour, we must listen to and embrace the views and input of our young people.”
These were some of the sentiments shared by the Minister of National Security Jeff Baron, following a recent roundtable discussion on gangs and gun-violence with members of the Youth Parliament.
The forum took place at the Department of Youth and Sport as part of an overall discussion regarding the Government’s National Youth Policy.
During the meeting, Youth Parliamentarians offered their thoughts and feedback on such matters as why young people join gangs; Government’s responsibility in addressing gun violence; the importance of having positive role models and making positive life choices; and possible solutions to deter young people from getting involved in gangs.
Minster Baron said, “The members of the Youth Parliament and I had a very insightful discussion and I was truly appreciative of their perspectives. Our young people are acutely aware about the challenges facing our community, and what’s clear is that they want to know that their voices are heard and that their input is valued.”
The Minister continued, “The Ministry of National Security is currently in the midst of developing an anti-gang and gun violence awareness strategy. So for our Ministry, this kind of social engagement with our young people was necessary and timely.
“Our current circumstances warrant our young people to become more involved. And opportunities such as our recent discussion ensures that they have input about Bermuda’s future – a future that ultimately affects them.”
The Minister took the opportunity to thank the Director of Youth Sport & Recreation, Mr. Norbert Simons, Senior Youth Services Development Officer, Mrs. Nadine Henry and Youth Development Officer Ariana Caines for hosting and facilitating the discussion.
“The public will recall that the Government undertook to develop a National Youth Policy, which is being spearheaded by the Ministry of Social Development and Sport,” a Ministry spokesperson said.
“In part, the Policy will provide guidance toward future strategic planning in youth services. The policy will identify the building blocks of successful development and assist with the designing of services and programmes to create this foundation.”