Ministry applauds youths for policy
Seventy percent of the population is under the age of thirty five which means Belize is a young society. Perhaps that is why youths, with the assistance of UNICEF and NGOs, have developed their own policy. It was compiled into a document called the National Youth Development Policy of Belize 2012-2022. The policy’s commitment gives existence to a National Youth Commission as an autonomous youth body that will be responsible for the implementation and monitoring of the policy. It also encourages dialogue between youths and related Ministries. Minister of Education Patrick Faber and Minister of State Herman Longsworth attended the launch. Longsworth says the most important factor in the fifty- eight page document is that the policies were devised by the youths.
“Are there anything in particular that you feel has been deserving or worthy of praise?”
Herman Longsworth, Minister of State
“Well I think the mare fact that the policy was developed by the youths themselves; that is something that has never happened in this country—we have never given our young people the wherewithal to try to move themselves. We’ve always try to dictate to them and tell them what is right for them and never sat down and listened to them. This policy is the result of major dialogue between adults and youth with the youth leading the process. So I think that is the biggest plus for the policy.”
“So within the policy itself, there is the discussion of sports, education, and crime. What stood out for you?”
“The policy is a structure; it is more of an enabling document to ensure that we move the things that the youths want. I think the most important thing that the policy does is to provide the wherewithal for the youths themselves to say where they want to go. So really the policy is simply a structure to enable them to come to us and say look these are the things we want to see happen and we will then provide them with the wherewithal to hold us to task in achieving these things for them.”