Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 19, 2021 (SKNIS): The Department of Youth Empowerment received high marks for Wednesday’s (November 17) Rap Session between the Minister of Youth, Honourable Jonel Powell, and 59 youth representatives drawn from high schools, youth groups, the Volunteer Corps and young entrepreneurs.

The interactive session was held at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort as part of activities to celebrate Youth Month 2021. In addition to a very candid and lively Q and A segment between the minister and the youth, a presentation and discussion were featured on the process to update the Federal Youth Policy 2017-2022 for the next five years. This was facilitated by Dwynette Eversley, a consultant with the Ministry of Youth.

Mauriel Knight, President of the St. Kitts National Youth Parliament Association (SKNYPA), said that he was “very happy” that plans are underway to revise the policy, which will guide youth development from 2022 to 2027.

“Many of the concerns I would have had like unemployment among youth and the COVID-19 gaps that would have been exposed in technology and education, I realize that the policy has been set to cover these areas and so I am quite confident my expectations have been met and I look forward to reading a copy of the [draft] policy,” Mr. Knight stated.

Alyssa Williams, a fourth form student of the Basseterre High School, appreciated the broad scope of the draft Federal Youth Policy. The segment on education was most intriguing for the 15-year-old who feels strongly that subject choices should be expanded across all classes of a form.

“I was in 3G1, and just because of that, I couldn’t do EDPM (Electronic Document Preparation and Management). It was not there as an option for me because only the lower classes could do it, so I had to do it out of school,” she said, while advocating for a change to the alternate subject selection system.

Joshua Rochester, 13, shared that crime was his main concern. He recently had a brush with a home intruder and felt passionate about the need to further bridge the gap between the police and the community. The Verchilds High student credited the establishment of the Explorers Club – a partnership between the youth, community and the police – as a good way to improve relations with law enforcement.

Opinions shared at the Youth Rap Session will be included in the draft Federal Youth Policy for 2022-2027. Additional consultations will be held with other stakeholders in the coming weeks.

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