Acknowledging the power of music in influencing young people, the Ministry of Equity, Social Justice, Local Government and Empowerment has teamed up with the Community Relations Branch of the Royal St. Lucia Police Force to host an Extempo Challenge under the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP).The project is jointly funded by the Government of Saint Lucia and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
This initiative targets youth within Castries and is intended to provide an avenue for them to creatively express themselves on social issues, with a focus on identifying youth oriented solutions to some of these issues.
In preparation for this Challenge, the Ministry is hosting a series of training workshops geared towards sensitizing the youth on matters relating to the impact of crime and violence on the society. The workshops, which are being hosted at the Castries Town Hall, commenced on Saturday, April 24th 2021 and will continue every Saturday until the end of May, 2021.
Inspector Alex Morgan of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force and one of the programme facilitators emphasized the importance of young people finding alternative ways to express their views on social issues: “Through your involvement, we can know where we are going as a country. Our focus is crime and violence and the impact on our community and what we can do to address that situation. In the process we looked for ideas from you the youth, ways to lessen the social issues plaguing the Castries communities. These solutions can then be implemented in your Extempo Musical pieces.”
Other programme partners and facilitators include Dr. Stephen King as well as Mr. Gilroy “Ezi” Hall, reigning Extempo Monarch of Saint Lucia and Ms. Caron Tobierre who are assisting participants with the composition of their Extempo lyrics.
The workshops held thus far have yielded encouraging results as participants have actively participated in discussions on the possible solutions relating to crime and violence in their communities.
One workshop participant commended the Ministry for job well done. “I would like to thank my mother for introducing me to the event. The event was very empowering and uplifting. I also noticed that there were many persons involved making it a good initiative. When these youth develop into adults they will be bringing new children into the world. It is always good to enlighten the young ones. I must commend the Ministry of equity for a job well done.”
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Equity, Social Justice, Local Government and Empowerment Mrs. Velda Joseph is pleased with this initiative which she believes will not only help to foster a sense of awareness of the impact of social issues among the youth but also engender creativity and critical thinking: “I think it is a really creative way of engaging the energies of young people in thinking about the social issues the we are confronted with and giving thought to the mitigation measures that can be implemented, thus reducing the impact of those issues. We welcome the initiative and we commend the organizers and we want to thank the young people for participating. We do recognize that you have answers to some of those issues and we recognize that your contributions are meaningful and that you can play a key role in the sustainable development of the country.”
The Extempo Challenge will be held on May 30, 2021.