Oct 13, 2022

October is National Youth Month and Young people need more than lip service. The Government must move with a sense of urgency and double the funding and resources focused on the Economic Empowerment of young people. Not only is it the right thing for our young people, but Economic Empowerment can also be used as an effective tool to grow our economy, fight inflation, and combat crime. Where are the new youth programs promised by the PLP?

1. The Government must immediately commence consultations with stakeholders to formulate a National Youth Economic Empowerment Plan and provide the necessary funding and resources to execute the plan. This plan should include strategic alliances with the government, private sector, and civil society.

2. The Government must also focus on a National Program that provides vocational and entrepreneurship training, access to financial services and financial assistance, life skills and citizenship training, and job placement. For out-of-school youth, it is crucial to provide foundational skills in ‘bridge programs, combined with life skill interventions to renew youth’s taste for learning.

3. Decisions should be more data-driven. The National Program should provide funding to perform market scans that can be used to develop employment initiatives to

create demand-driven vocational skill training curricula. This is the only way we can provide long-term permanent employment for young people. This will give our young people the information and data required to make effective life choices.

4. The Government should focus on providing financial resources by immediately reinstating and funding the Youth Small Business Grant through the Small Business Development Center started by the FNM Administration.

This program provided grant funding, start-up advice, and mentoring specifically for young people starting a business. These opportunities must be provided nationally across every constituency, especially those still recovering from Hurricane Dorian and those high crime areas.

5. Technology is a natural fit for young people. The Government must immediately

reinstitute and expand the Youth ICT Program in conjunction with BTVI started by the FNM Administration which saw over 450 ICT certifications from High School students. This program provided necessary skills in the technology industry who immediately became employable or earned college credits.

J. Kwasi Thompson

Member of Parliament East Grand Bahama Shadow Minister for Finance
October 12th, 2022

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