The Chief Executive Officer of Supreme Counselling Services, Shawn Clarke, has suggested that it is time for Government to build a special facility catering to young people in need of protection and rehabilitation.
Addressing the 37 graduates of the Project Rescue programme, Clarke suggested that it was unreasonable for Government to place troubled children who were disadvantaged and in need of counselling at the Government Industrial School, which caters to juvenile delinquents.
“Sending our young people to the Government Industrial School for something as trivial as wandering, to be among other young people who are incarcerated for much harder crimes, is not the way to go,”
“Any government worth its salt must seriously consider increasing the financial, educational, and technical support made available to young people in this country. It is high time that we stop viewing our young people as part of the problem and start cultivating their promise and potential,” he said.
Clarke further recommended that instead of creating new social and development projects, Government should negotiate with non-governmental organizations and charities that have successfully executed such programmes.
“Instead of trying to re-invent the wheel or compete with these organizations, Government should give consideration to providing NGOs with the necessary funds and technical assistance and let the NGOs get the job done,” he said.
As for the graduates who came from various backgrounds and sought remedial help at the Supreme Counselling Centre, Clarke reminded them that they were all worthwhile and capable of making valuable contributions to society.
“Too often the youth of our country are demonized. They are demonized in our national media by some of our national figures. [and] it is important for us to recognize how brilliant our young people are and to celebrate them,” he stressed.
Clarke also lamented that the educational system was failing far too many students, who were not academically inclined, with institutions, such as the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic, which was built for non-academics, becoming increasingly competitive.
With this said, he urged his students to give of their best in every aspect of their lives.
“It is not enough to simply try to get by in life. That doesn’t move the world forward. You must try to excel in everything you do; strive for excellence in every task, large or small.
“Every accomplishment you achieve is added to Barbados’ accomplishments. Your individual successes benefit our society as a whole because when you succeed, you lighten the burden of your fellow countryman. When you succeed you are in a positive position to give rather than take. You are in a position to give back to a country that has given so much to you,” he added.