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Cayman Islands Government

New Focus on Youth

NYC members discuss their new agenda.

The newly re-appointed and expanded National Youth Commission (NYC) recently met with government officials to outline plans for the new year.

The meeting was led by Youth Minister the Hon. Mark Scotland, along with Ministry Chief Officer Jennifer Ahearn and Senior Policy Officers Janet Flynn and Joel Francis, as well as NYC Chairman Jenny Manderson, JP, who leads the 20-member group.

Welcoming the youth stakeholder group, especially the new members, Minister Scotland said their new mission is to help steer young people "towards a brighter future than we have seen in recent times."

The main role of the NYC is to research and advise on youth issues, while monitoring the on-going youth programmes.

Pledging that government will continue to keep youth issues on the "front burner," Mr. Scotland added, "The combination of talents which you bring from a cross-section of society and the different disciplines represented, should yield positive results."

The NYC comprises educators, community leaders and members of non-governmental organizations. Also on the council; are agencies such as the National Drug Council and the RCIPS. Several students and other young people, as well as representatives from the Sister Islands, also serve on the revised council.

Mrs. Manderson also welcomed the members, and thanked Minister Scotland for placing youth issues high on the list of priorities."There are so many concerns, and this committee will have an important role in seeing that all youth issues are addressed appropriately," she said. "There are so many concerns, but with this committee we should be able to achieve much."

To help guide direction, a report which compiles all recent research and findings relating to youth, was presented to the members. The National Youth Policy itself is also in the process of being reviewed and will soon be finalised.

The NYC's terms of reference are also being revised, and the members are to be assigned to sub-committees dealing with youth development, youth welfare and youth affairs.

Key youth concerns are identified as crime and violence, education issues and drug abuse. In keeping with these, the NYC's current priorities are to refine its action plan; to lead an audit of all youth services, and to develop a youth index to evaluate the status of young people as well as the effectiveness of programmes.

"Government spends a tremendous amount of funds across several departments on youth development. However, there needs to be closer monitoring and coordination, even within the districts," the Minister explained.

While the NYC has traditionally focused on teens and young adults, Mr. Scotland urged the group to focus more attention on children under ten years of age. He said that this will allow decision-makers to identify behaviour patterns early, and to enable a smoother transition from child to adult.

About NYC:The NYC was established in 2001 to advocate youth issues. Positive results over the years have included the introduction of the National Youth Assembly, the weekly Youth Flex radio show, plus local studies and regional representations to government on youth matters.

For further information contact: Lennon Christian