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Prince Charles waved goodbye to Barbados today after a trip lasting less than 48 hours that saw his status within the Caribbean nation totally transformed. Before he left, however, he was able to see the efforts of work that will continue as before that his Prince’s Trust is doing in the country.
Charles met young people being helped by the Prince’s Trust International during a reception at Ilaro Court, the official residence of the Prime Minister of Barbados, in his last public engagement before jetting back to the U.K. It was his second or third meeting with some and they were keen to praise the program for having created opportunities and opened doors.
“I was home...I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life.” one young person named Kyle said. “The program taught me discipline...I had to find a purpose.”
Another participant named Aisha became a police officer after she was encouraged by the Prince’s Trust to pursue the profession. “I was apprehensive at first because I never thought that I could be a police officer,” she said. “It was a long process but here I am. I think it’s a great initiative, giving young individuals a chance to engage in something.”
Prince Charles set up the Prince’s Trust in 1967 using his Royal Navy severance pay of £7,400 with the aim of helping disadvantaged young people. It has been operating in Barbados since 2016 running all the programs it runs in the U.K. with partners like the Barbados Youth Business Trust.
“Since the success here, we’ve had more requests from Caribbean countries,” Prince’s Trust Chief Executive Martina Miburn told T&C. “Everything we do is designed to help young people get a job or become self-employed...There’s a lot of young people who are very keen to have support.” She added that Prime Minister Mia Mottley “has been fantastic and she’s personally invested £1.5 million Bajan dollars of government money too.”
While the Republic of Barbados is now going about removing the word ‘royal‘ from institutions and erasing the Crown from their national life, the work of the Prince’s Trust in the area will continue as before. “Because we work through local partners and it’s very rooted in the community, nothing changes from our point of view, we just carry on doing it and hopefully scale up and do more,” Martina Milburn said.
Prime Minister Mia Mottley also met some of the young people including Akeme Cox who took part in the first program the Trust launched in Barbados in 2016 and has since gone on to forge a successful hot sauce and catering company Paradise Eats.
The event came after Prime Minister Mia Mottley thanked the Prince in a speech this morning, describing him as a “man ahead of his time” in his approach to climate change and helping young people.
The Prince had directly addressed Britain’s colonial history in his own address on Monday night after Barbados had been declared a republic. He spoke of the “appalling atrocity of slavery, which forever stains our history.”
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