Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 28, 2017 (SKNIS): The idea of having a Federal Youth Policy received accolades from a number of persons from the youth population, as they have thrown their support behind the document, noting that it is of paramount importance, especially to young people.
Speaking at the final public consultation on the Federal Youth Policy at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort on Tuesday, March 28, Azard Gumbs, President of the St. Kitts National Youth Parliament Association (SKNYPA), said that his organization “strongly believes and supports the involvement of young people in nation building”.
“We believe that young people should be actively involved in decision making processes that affect us and affect our federation. We believe that young people should be protected as they are an invaluable asset to any country. We also believe that young people should be empowered and that they should be given the necessary guidance and tools needed to unlock their new potential,” said Mr. Gumbs. “We view the youth policy as a tool to ensure that the aforesaid is carried out. It is for this reason that the National Youth Parliament Association of St. Kitts supports what is taking place today.”
The SKNYPA president said that his association advocated for the Federal Youth Parliament for years and so it was indeed a pleasure when the Honourable Shawn Richards, Minister of Youth, made the first public statement in 2015, indicating the need for the said document. Mr. Gumbs made a plea for youth to review the policy upon its completion. He urged them to get to know it, “for only when you are aware of its contents can you keep our government accountable,” he said.
Elrick Francis, CARICOM Youth Ambassador Alternate, shared similar sentiments as it relates to the policy, adding that the drive to adopt a youth policy has gained momentum across the CARICOM region.
“We are proud that our federation has also taken up the charge. As CARICOM Youth Ambassadors, we recognize that efforts of mainstreaming youth in national development are of key importance to ensuring the holistic and inclusive development of our nation,” said Mr. Francis, adding that as stakeholders in the process of reviewing and redrafting the document, it has received full endorsement from the CARICOM Youth Ambassadors. “It is our hope that this document will provide the young people with an amplified voice. We look forward to a St. Kitts and Nevis, which is inclusive of all young people and which ensures that we are able to access and benefit from equal opportunities in all sectors of economic, political and social life. We believe that this policy is evidence-based and is the best possible tool to guide comprehensive youth-focused development, not only in our nation, but across our region as a whole.”
Special recognition was given to the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis and in particular, Minister Richards, for ensuring that the Federal Youth Policy came to fruition. Both young leaders made a call for young person’s voices to be heard, as they too play an important role in the development of the country.