Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS) — St. Kitts and Nevis’ approach of engagement and involvement of young people in various levels of governance was affirmed as a positive development based on discussions at the Caribbean Youth Development Conference in Jamaica.
Deputy Prime Minister, Honourable Shawn Richards, Nevis’ Youth Coordinator, Zahnella Claxton, and CARICOM Youth Ambassador alternate, Trevis Belle, represented the twin-island Federation at the September 30th to October 2nd Regional Meeting.
Topics at the three-day conference included: Participatory Governance and Youth, Youth Contribution to Sustainable Development through Sports, Youth Participating in the Democratic Process and more. Some of the discussions on youth entrepreneurship development and youth participation in decision making are already being done at various levels in St. Kitts and Nevis. Ongoing training using the Creativity for Employment and Business Opportunity (CEBO) manual is evidence of the youth business thrust, while youth membership on statutory boards and key committees including the Independence 32 celebration committee is representative of good governance. The expectations are that the exchange of best practices at the meeting will serve to strengthen local initiatives.
Deputy PM Richards, who also serves as the federal minister responsible for youth, described the meeting as “very fruitful.” He noted the theme: “Youth Post 2015: Directions for Sustainable Development in the Caribbean” and expressed his support for the development agenda which aligns with the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Many of the SDGs have cross-cutting objectives which are relevant to young people such as Ensuring Healthy Lives and Promoting Well-being for All, at All Ages, Ensuring Inclusive and Equitable Quality Education and Promoting Lifelong Learning Opportunities for All, Achieving Gender Equality and Empowering All Women and Girls, and Promoting Sustained, Inclusive and Sustainable Economic Growth, Full and Productive Employment and Decent Work for All.
“It was recognized that, young people basically should determine the policies in place for youth and they must be a part of the overall development thrust of any nation,” Richards said, noting that a policy of inclusion and empowerment will continue in St. Kitts and Nevis. “When you look at what was being presented by the young people [at the meeting], I do believe that the Caribbean is in good hands.”
The meeting was organized by the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies of the University of the West Indies in collaboration with the Caribbean Regional Youth Council.