Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs and Tobago West MP Shamfa Cudjoe has urged the island's young people to take advantage of the opportunities which the government is providing by way of skills and training.
Addressing a People's National Movement meeting at the Bethesda Multi-Purpose Facility on Tuesday night, Cudjoe lamented despite the government's best efforts, many young people in Tobago still are not embracing opportunities for vocational, entrepreneurial and other types of training.
Singling out the village of Bethel, which falls within her constituency, Cudjoe told supporters about a conversation she had with a young man in the district in relation to the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs LEEAP (Lifeskills, Employability, Entrepreneurship, Activism and Patriotism) programme.
She said although arrangements were made to inform Bethel villagers about the LEEAP initiative, the young man complained he did not receive a call on his cellphone.
"He wanted a personal call," Cudjoe said incredulously.
Another young man, Cudjoe said, had no interest in the initiative because the classes were being conducted too early in the day. She said the man also complained about the stipend but still wanted a morning "wuk".
Cudjoe also related her experience of talking to a teacher, who had asked her to find a job for her son, a high school drop-out.
She said the teacher came to her while the woman's son stayed at home watching television.
"That is not the kind of citizens that we are trying to raise in the People's National Movement. (TT's first Prime Minister) Dr Eric Williams did not leave his wife and child in Washington DC to come to TT to lay his bucket down for that."
Cudjoe said people always look for someone to blame for misfortune or lack of success but sometimes the answer is in the mirror.
"So, when we say nothing is happening for us, who is making nothing happen for us? Because often we hear the government not doing this and the THA not doing this. So, we have to check ourselves as Tobagonians."
She said a lot of the problems with young people today was the result of poor parenting,
Reflecting on TT's Independence Day observance on August 31, Cudjoe asked: "What are we really making of this Independence and these opportunities?
"Look at the development around you. Look at the opportunities given to you, whether it is in education, whether it is in developing a business, venture capital, getting funding to do what you need to do. These programmes are brought right to your doorstep."
Cudjoe said Tobagonians have a role to play in living the message of Independence.