Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has underscored the importance of investing heavily in the nation’s youth.
Addressing hundreds of new IMANI trainees last Friday, Dr. Mitchell said Government has a fundamental responsibility to create opportunities for young people.
“We have a responsibility to the youth of our country, to do everything we can, to be able to give you hope. I make the point consistently, that if we don’t create opportunities and invest in you today, we will have to invest and find resources to spend the money in other areas; whether it’s in dealing with more social problems in the country, more resources in our court system because of the problems or more investment in the prisons,” Dr. Mitchell said.
The Prime Minister said youth development must take precedence over many other investments.
“If we have to cut out doing a certain road because of the investment in IMANI, so be it. We need the road, but we need to save our children first, that’s the number one priority. The investment in our young persons must never be seen as wasteful”, he added.
The Prime Minister encouraged young people to make maximum use of the opportunities provided for their development.
“All that is necessary is for you to grab the opportunity and use it effectively for yourselves and by implication, your families and your country. The sky is the limit for you – the opportunities that are available for you today were not available when I was growing up,” he stated.
The Prime Minister said the intention of the IMANI Programme is not simply to give a monthly stipend to young persons, but rather to provide hope and opportunities for them to become productive citizens.
Eight hundred young people are enrolled in the current batch of IMANI trainees.
At Friday’s ceremony, Dr. Mitchell also commended Ministers Norland Cox and Kate Lewis whom he described as being very passionate about creating opportunities for young people.