Minister of Youth Development and National Service Fitzgerald Hinds makes his contribution during yesterday’s Budget debate.

A proposed new youth policy will redefine youths as people aged 10 to 30 and plans will include teaching them to volunteer to help people.

National Youth Development Minister Fitzgerald Hinds detailed the plans during yesterday’s Parliament debate on the 2021 Budget.

Hinds said youths are currently defined as ages 12 to 25, but the proposed policy will expand that to ages 10 to 30.

The number of people in that age category will comprise 60 per cent of the population and this number will be brought into a “bigger constituency” to be trained, skilled, nurtured and disciplined. The policy will be approved by the end of next month.

Hinds said his ministry will communicate to all outposts that youths must be listened to no matter how they speak or dress. He said doors had to be open for them to hear what they have to say to “ensure they don’t leave us behind as it was the way we met it.”

He said plans include instilling the spirit of volunteerism so people won’t ask the elderly for money if they do something for them and also seeking volunteers to mentor youth.

Businesses will be approached to engage more youths with tax incentives for them and stipends for youths.

A national consultation will be held to determine what form national service for youths will take.

The former Chatham and Presto Presto youth camps will be rebuilt and two others at Wallerfield and Chaguaramas will also be set up. These will focus on training, agriculture, digitalization and other programmes. Another centre will open in Los Bajos and a farm school in Moruga.

Plans are also being formulated for a music industry. The NESC, YTEPP and other programmes will also be co-ordinated.