Lisa Hanna, Jamaica’s new minister of youth and culture staked a claim for her portfolio by meeting with the Cuban ambassador to the island to discuss possible areas of cooperation between the islands.
Four days after her appointment by Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller, Hanna proposed initiatives she believes could create opportunities for youth advancement in Jamaica.
During her discussions with Cuba’s Yuri Gala Lopez at her office, Hanna highlighted the plight of Jamaican youth, saying that almost 70 per cent of them are unskilled and 55 per cent drop out of school.
She punctuated her statement with facts alleging that 75 per cent of crimes are committed by persons under the age of 30.
“There is much work to be done to reverse the statistics and to improve the life chances of Jamaica’s youth. My top priority is finding and providing opportunities for youth to succeed, particularly youth at risk. I’m pleased to be discussing with Ambassador Lopez options for creating employment and other opportunities for our young people using culture.”
Hanna and Lopez discussed the best practices that Cuba has used to involve its young people through culture to provide jobs locally and internationally. The minister believes Jamaica could achieve similar success with the requisite technical support.
“Cuba has given strong technical support to Jamaica in several areas including providing teachers and medical staff and assisting to advance sports programs,” Lopez said. “I look forward to our two countries working together to provide opportunities for youth using our cultural programs, including in the area of culture and arts instruction,” she added.