Basseterre, St. Kitts, (SKNIS):
Youth in St. Kitts weighed in quite emphatically on a number of issues at a National Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) consultation held at the conference room of the Ocean Terrace Inn, on Tuesday, November 17.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Youth, Honourable Sam Condor, and the
Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) Assistant Secretary General for Human and
Social Development, Dr. Edward Greene, were present when approximately 40
young people from various youth organizations and high schools gave honest
opinions about health, migration, education, crime and violence, sports and
culture as well as youth participation in governance.
The COHSOD was held as a final consultation to inform the regional report of
the CARICOM Commission on Youth Development (CCYD), which was created by
Heads of Governments to capture the dreams, aspirations and concerns of
young people in member states.
At the start of the session, Deputy Prime Minister Condor described youth
development as “the most pressing and urgent issue concerning St. Kitts and
Nevis and the entire region.” He called on participants to be completely
honest and open during the consultation.
The young people accepted the challenge and a passionate debate ensued on
the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), youth advocacy and employment
opportunities for university graduates.
“The format was good. The discussion was very productive and [was] a
positive one,” Patrick Walters of the Washington Archibald High School told
SKNIS. Mervann Thompson of Verchilds High agreed and added that the youth
population will be greatly served by the exercise. Basseterre High student
Desi Brown said that “it was amazing to see that young people have so much
potential and don’t use [existing opportunities] to their advantage.”
The participants called for the timely conclusion and implementation of the
recommendations of the CCYD which was launched in March 2007, following a
mandate of the CARICOM Heads of Government meeting in Suriname in 2006.
Ms. Brown challenged her peers to change their attitude and get involved in
youth advocacy which generates activities like the national COHSOD, while
Mr. Walters asked organizers for greater feedback as consultations are being
Dr. Greene responded that the CARICOM Secretariat will publish a shorter,
youth-friendly version of the report highlighting the outcomes. This will be
distributed to all member states to share with participants and others. The
full report which contains well over 150 pages will be posted on the CARICOM
website after being officially presented to Heads of Government in a summit
slated for January 2010.