The Belize Youth Services Department in Dangriga is in a deplorable condition. This is according to the Deputy Director of Youth Services Kevin Cadle. An assessment was conducted on the facility in the culture capital where officials including the Minister of Youth Kevin Bernard uncovered the neglect and deterioration of the offices. Minister Bernard took to social media last night to post photos of the facility, and later referred us to Cadle to get a first hand account of what was found.
Kevin Cadle, Deputy Director, Department of Youth Services: “The condition is not conducive for young people to have access to meaningful development work. The building was really dilapidated, we had situations whereby what was there it was raining and actually the rain was literally seeping through the building and we had several situations of pigeons living in the roof and so it’s not conducive for young people nor workers to be in that at this point in time. With immediate effect we’re seeking to rent a building in Dangriga Town where young people could have access and that our staff could be productive that is what we needed to check. Secondly we’re planning within the first six months to a year to erect a new building on the land which does belong to the Government of Belize so that we could be able to provide the adequate services required for our young people so those are the immediate measures that we’re taking in terms of the situation.”
In addition to working at improving the conditions the Ministry of Youth and Sports is also looking at revamping the Youth Apprenticeship Program as well as the development of viable programs. Cadle, who once worked closely with Dianne Finnegan spoke to our newsroom on what he observed at the Department of Youth Services. Cadle says he views his imminent promotion to Director as an opportunity to do things differently.
Kevin Cadle, Deputy Director, Department of Youth Services: “I must say that I’ve been in this work for the past twenty four years and I realize that quite some time ago we have actually scattered youth work, we have watered it down and we had various programs all over the place without institutional linkages and meaningful opportunities to ties these programs together so they could be able to enhance the development of young people. What we want to do and what I want to do especially as the incoming director is to ensure that we work with each and every government and non government institution who can provide the opportunity for young people to become meaningfully engaged in our society. I’ll give you a simple example, education. There have been programs from lets say the Skills Training Centre in terms of barbering, in terms of front office tourism but these young people were not being transitioned into the ITVET, these young persons were just giving a small skill so that they could learn a skill and that was it. We want to be able to provide meaningful skills to young persons so that young people could literally be able to survive from these skills and to provide weighted certification training programs for young people.”
One of the other initiatives being looked at by the Ministry of Youth and Sports is a 24-hour youth counseling hotline. /