(ZIZ Newsroom) — OECS Ministers for Youth and Social Development, Directors of Youth and Presidents of National Youth Councils are meeting at the Marriott Resort for a two-day regional discussion on advancing a strategy for youth development.
Education and training, child and youth protection, employment, entrepreneurship and environment and climate change are on the agenda to be discussed as part of the OECS Youth Strategy.
During the opening ceremony Minister of Youth Hon. Shawn Richards presented welcoming remarks and acknowledged the issues facing the region’s youth.
He encouraged productive dialogue among the participants stating, “This meeting though is one that we welcome here to St. Kitts and Nevis on behalf of the OECS. As we expect to be discussing issues relative to our young people and their own development. Throughout the OECS sub-region and certainly throughout the CARICOM region, I’m certain that you would agree that these are all matters which have been occupying our time as ministers and your time as various persons involved in youth work and in social development.”
Representative of the OECS Commission Marcellus Albertin noted that the OECS Commission views youth development as a priority.
“We assume also that there is equal priority given to youth development and equal prominence given to it in our national government sector plans. We understand that it is a key issue in most of our political manifestos as we understand the youth is a very important voting bloc. But we recognise more importantly that the welfare of the youth is the welfare of the OECS economic union and if we get it right with the youth, we should get it right with the OECS.”
Albertin also spoke of the Commission’s efforts to address issues affecting youth and outlined some of the Commission’s plans for youth development in the region.
“The OECS has sought to address this in a very meaningful way through the juvenile justice reform project now closing in many of our member states but we look to a JJRP2, the second phase of the juvenile justice reform project where we will build on the excellent achievements of the first project that was aimed at improving the justice system generally but what we will seek to do this time around is to improve the rehabilitation programs,” he said.
The discussion towards advancing the OECS youth strategy is guided by the theme “Creating Possibilities by the Youth for the Youth”.