‘Listen to our youth’ – Baron

  • Table talk: Minister of National Security Jeff Baron address members of the Youth Parliament (Photograph by Stephen Raynor)

Minister of national security Jeff Baron has urged the public to listen to “our young people” in an effort to stem the tide of violent behaviour.

His comments come after attending a Youth Parliament forum.

“If Bermuda is to successfully tackle violence and antisocial behaviour, we must listen to and embrace the views and input of our young people,” said the senator.

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; the 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.

“The members of the Youth Parliament and I had a very insightful discussion and I was truly appreciative of their perspectives,” said Mr Baron. “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 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 senator thanked the director of Youth Sport and Recreation Norbert Simons, senior youth services development officer Nadine Henry and youth development officer Ariana Caines for hosting and facilitating the discussion.

“Government developed a National Youth Policy, which is being spearheaded by the Ministry of Social Development and Sport. In part, the policy will provide guidance towards future strategic planning in youth services,” said a government statement. “The policy will identify the building blocks of successful development and assist with the designing of services and programmes to create this foundation.”