Basseterre, St. Kitts — Having been blessed with the distinct privilege of serving my beautiful twin island Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis over the past two years, in the capacity of CARICOM Youth Ambassador, I must at this time extend words of gratitude, as my tenure has now officially ended.
Firstly, I wish to thank the Almighty creator for endowing me with vitality, humility and the right attitude, vision and skill set, to rise to the challenge and serve my country in this important capacity.
Secondly, I wish to thank the Ministry of Youth, the Department of Youth Empowerment and the CARICOM Secretariat for recognizing my capabilities and my passion for youth empowerment, and affording me the honor to serve as a CARICOM Youth Ambassador. Thank you wholeheartedly for believing in me and providing me with the ideal platform, to continue my quest to aid in nation building, through youth development.
To my family, friends, fellow youth ambassador colleagues and the great people of St. Kitts and Nevis and the CARICOM region, thank you from the depths of my heart for your unwavering love, encouragement, motivation , inspiration and wise counsel. Your outpouring of support kept me focused and energized, as I worked feverishly to be the best youth advocate and role model I could be, for the youth of the Caribbean Community.
Special thanks to the local media houses for recognizing the important role of youth ambassadors, and for always providing me with a medium to express my views and disseminate pertinent information to our populace.
Undoubtedly, the last two years have been a remarkable journey of personal growth and development, as I worked tirelessly putting country above self at all times, to champion many causes. I raised awareness about HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, promoted respect for human rights, promoted a more peaceful society by encouraging our youth to stay away from a life of crime and violence and to seek peaceful means of conflict resolution, encouraged parents to get on board and take their responsibilities more seriously and challenged our youth to place a greater value on their education and to be creative and innovative, and involve themselves in positive activities and importantly, promoted regional integration amongst other things. I will forever cherish these moments, as well as those times I was tasked with proudly representing my country regionally and internationally. My travels abroad not only allowed me to exchange ideas and expand my network of friends, but allowed me to be a true ambassador and promote the amazing tourism product we offer in the Federation.
It would be remiss of me, if I did not highlight that my most rewarding experience as a youth ambassador was lived when I visited Her Majesty’s Prison to conduct a motivational session and interact with inmates. It allowed me to recognize that we have a lot of great potential behind bars, and with the right rehabilitation and guidance upon release, these individuals can reintegrate into society and make significant contributions, to our economy, once they are encouraged to do so. I felt very pleased when on a few occasions’ prisoners who had been released, would stop me and say, “Ms. Boddie thank you for your words of encouragement am now out and trying to live a better life.” I even felt greater satisfaction, when a prisoner working on the road one day, stopped me and asked me for a book on Leadership. I say all of this to say, let us never forget the youth who are not in our newspapers for being emerging leaders, all is not lost, there is hope within each and every youth within our Federation. It is therefore important that we play our part in guiding them and being the best role models for them, bearing in mind that they are our nation’s children and future.
As this chapter of my work in youth development comes to an end, I wish to say that another chapter will open for my successor who I am happy to pass the baton to and advice, as we partner in this relay for continued youth development. I encourage everyone to continue supporting our young people, as they endeavor to make a difference. Lastly, I pledge to continue giving service to my country and avail myself to lend my time, talents, efforts and energy to make St. Kitts and Nevis a much better place than I met it. Once again gracias, merci and thank you for all the support, it was greatly appreciated.