Conversation not finished, says youth group
An organisation designed give young people the opportunity to make their voices heard in the corridors of power yesterday appealed to political parties to stick to their promises on youth investment.
Halle Teart, the cofounder of Bermuda Youth Connect, also asked the next Cabinet to keep in touch with the group.
She said: “While Bermuda Youth Connect looks forward to starting some of these conversations, we hope that our leaders will also reach out to the youth and align their sentiments with their actions.”
Ms Teart was speaking after Marc Bean, the leader of the Free Democratic Movement, said that he would turn to the interests of younger voters for guidance on what policies the party should adopt.
Mr Bean said that the FDM's defeat at the polls gave it the opportunity to fine tune their by-laws and constitution.
He added that political parties would have to appeal to the needs of young voters if they wanted to be viable options.
Mr Bean said: “The future of Bermuda lies in the hands of our young people — if we want to ensure our future as a country, we have no choice but to turn to them.
“That is one of the key messages that the FDM has to meditate on — the future of the FDM is dependent on the next generation.”
Ms Teart, who helped form the youth group after the election was called in August, agreed that the future of the island was in the hands of her generation.
She said that other parties also seemed to have shown an interest in young people before the election.
But Ms Teart added “there is always room to improve”.
She said: “What matters now is how they act on this sentiment, what they are willing to do for young people and how they intend to listen to our voice.”
She added: “Like we've said before, just because the election has been held doesn't mean that the conversation is finished.
“Now more than ever, we have the responsibility of holding government accountable and ensuring that our needs are met and our voice is heard; and as always, our leaders have the responsibility to listen.”
The Progressive Labour Party's platform said it wanted to create a “national youth policy” that allowed young people to help shape government programmes and merge existing youth services to ensure a more efficient delivery of help.
They added that they hoped to develop a “youth employment strategy” to “meet the identified needs of unemployed persons between the ages of 18 and 26, guide unemployed Bermudian youth back to work and train them in jobs currently occupied by guest workers”.
The One Bermuda Alliance Youth Manifesto showed that the party believed that “constant and solid engagement and investment in our youth is the only way to secure a country's future”.
They said that they hoped to develop a “creative economy” based on technological advancement, online businesses and cultural and entertainment activities.
The OBA added that pathways to early job training and easier home ownership would also be used to create an environment where young people can “comfortably live and work in the areas they are attracted to”.
The Youth Manifesto said that the OBA would invest in resources and programmes for schools, which included GED programmes and more scholarships.
The OBA said: “Youth of Bermuda, we have listened to you. We have heard you. We know you wish an end to the political tribalism.
“We know you wish for a more dynamic and non-political education that will put you on the road to worthwhile employment or business ownership.”