Kingston, April 15, 2013: The Minister of Youth and Culture the Hon. Lisa Hanna has disclosed that the Youth Ministry is now in the process of developing new services, initiatives and programmes to address the ever- changing and complex needs of today's children and youth. This, she says is necessary, if the Government is to adequately and effectively address the challenges, concerns and needs of the different types of youth the Ministry serves.
These groups include, but are not limited to, Lesbian, Gays, Bisexual and Transgender(LGBT) youth, Men who have sex with Men (MSMs) and youth with sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) issues.
The Youth Minister was speaking at the Panos Caribbean Stakeholder Conference held at the Terra Nova Hotel this morning, April 15, 2014.
" As the Minister of Youth and Culture, I'm responsible for all children and this is not to dismiss the individual and specific challenges of any grouping but to make it clear that we will have to do away with the hypodermic needle approach and develop and implement targeted interventions for each grouping"
Minister Hanna explained that given the lack of data on LGBT youth, the stakeholder consultation is not only timely but necessary as it will provide the Ministry with a better understanding of what the issues are. Additionally, the consultation will identify workable solutions and best practices on how to care and protect those young people who are homeless, destitute and vulnerable especially those belonging to a sexual minority or who are viewed as 'different' in any way.
"Jamaica has to now understand the issues facing our children. It is not only our duty provide shelter and protection for those children who have been abandoned and abused but to also provide the therapeutic intervention to address the physical and psychological harm they have suffered."
Minister Hanna says given the diversity of our youth population, it is clear that the Government will not only have to rethink how they plan, develop and implement programmes geared towards youth development but there will also have to be a 'resetting' of the mind and of the way in which we treat each other.
The Stakeholders Consultation was sponsored by Panos Caribbean in collaboration with the World Learning Organization and USAID and was attended by members of the Ministry and the Inter-Ministerial Working Group on Children, Panos Caribbean, UNICEF, the Child Development Agency, OCR,Ministry of Health, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of National Security, Ministry of Education, Board-chair of the Maxfield Children's Home, JFLAG, Jamaica Youth Advocacy Network.