Youth policy launched in wake violent crime spree

| 02/10/2011

(CNS): Government launched its National Youth Policy on Friday in the wake of one of the most violent crime sprees Cayman has ever seen. Against the backdrop of the killing of five young men in September the minister with responsibility for youth stated that being young should be the “best years of your life” but the senseless murders demonstrated how some young people have a very different experience. Mark Scotland said that the new policy calls for more collaboration.  He said there are more than 50 different organizations and programmes catering for young people but the new policy aimed to coordinate them to ensure that they were relevant and that resources go where they are needed.

Despite the number of reviews already undertaken and the number of committees and councils established in the past regarding youth policies the minister announced the creation of another committee to co-ordinate this latest policy.

“My Ministry will immediately start to realize this goal by appointing an Inter-Ministerial Committee on Youth,” he said. “This high-level body will work to improve the coordination and collaboration between agencies. It will also ensure that resources go where they are needed, when they are needed. This committee will meet regularly to firstly ensure that we are moving forward on youth related matters and secondly guarantee that we are moving forward in the right direction.”

He said this time government had “clearly identified the issues,” and knew “the details of the problems” and now had clear goals and objectives.

The minister said that the community also had to play its part and he asked the business community to reflect on its role in addressing youth concerns. As he asked them to give staff time-off to do more volunteering; sponsor a youth group and other community initiatives; develop an internship or apprenticeship programme and devise flex time to help single parents to spend more time with their children.

“I myself will be recommending the same to Government so we can lead by example on this,” he added.
He also challenged charities and churches to expand community outreach to find the young people at risk and get to know their families and invite them into the programmes. Scotland also asked people to enroll in the Youth Worker course at the University College of the Cayman Islands or sign up for conflict resolution classes or courses dealing with domestic abuse so that more people can help.

He reserved his final challenge for parents, family members and neighbours asking them to spend time with young people.

Chair of the National Youth Commission which did the research work to inform the policy explained that in late 2009 the commission did an in-depth analysis of the previous surveys and reports on youth.  “We already had a wealth of reports and recommendations from both local and overseas experts, so it made sense to utilize information from these highly regarded documents to inform the Policy revision,” Jenny Manderson said.

She spoke about the lack of accountability, duplication of efforts and lack of coordination which were genuine concerns and the new policy provides mechanisms to address these issues. One is an implementation plan which she said includes performance measures and is time and cost specific. 

“Once the Commission is armed with this plan it will be empowered to monitor the plan’s implementation, and to evaluate the effectiveness of the policy. There will be no doubt about who should be doing what. Secondly, accountability and policy coordination will  be further enhanced by the appointment of an Inter-ministerial Committee on Youth, This Committee will also be responsible for ensuring that youth perspectives are incorporated into the policies of their respective Ministries,” she added.

The premier who was also at the launch pointed out that while the new policy echoes some of what was said in Vision 2008 and the National Youth Policy 2000 it introduces cross-ministerial collaboration. “It represents a launching point for a holistic, integrated and coordinated approach to youth development. In other words, it shows how everything we do is interconnected,” he said, adding that the policy recognizes the needs and concerns of young people and that they will not be left to find their own way in a difficult and ever changing society.

See National Youth Policy 2011 here

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  1. Anonymous says:


    The MEDIA– particular our TV station need to  stop their PROMOTION of all the sex,  drugs and voilence  by Airing Movies that does NOT give and teach our youth how to shoot and Kill their enemies.


    can I use this Forum and ask our TV company if  they cannot get more FAMILY FRIENDLY Channels , movies, Shows?


    THis is NOT  rocket science:  Children learn from a young age what they SEE AND HEAR.

    And yes they gravated and leaarn the negative, synical , and voilent quicker than they will copy the well behaved and mannered because they have got so de – sentized to the killing nd voilence now tht they are accepted it as a way of life after seeing and hearing it so many hours of the day, 7 nights a week ( and on Holidays….. days too)

  2. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps the elected officials could lead by example, set their differences aside, stop the accusations, sit at the table and work out together how to get Cayman back on track! That would be a great way to demonstrate to the entire country (and world) that unity is the path to success.

  3. Anonymous says:

    There are so many opportunities for our youths – and their parents!

    If only they would maximixe them, even if – in some cases – it means demanding these rights and opportunities.

    Of course the other non-local nationalities are driven to do this, for they know the value of such opportunties, and the challenges of surviving in the 'real world'.  So, come on Cayman, get real, aim for the best and stop making excuses!

    Of course government and businesses need to set better examples, and hire, educate and promote out own people!


  4. Concerned Caymanian says:

    This is a positive step forward.  Good luck to all concerned.