Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 22, 2017 (SKNIS): The Minister’s Youth Forum and first ever Minister’s Youth Luncheon, which was an event on the calendar of activities for the Department of Youth Empowerment’s Youth Month 2017, paved the way for frank and respectful dialogue on a wide range of issues pertinent to youth development in St. Kitts and Nevis.
Acting Director in the Department of Youth Empowerment, Pierre Liburd, said that the event was very important and it provided an avenue for all in attendance to hear from policy makers and government officials on what is expected in charting the way forward for youth development among other things.
“It is also an opportunity for all of us to converse, to dialogue openly, frankly and respectfully as to how we see this…going forward – what can be done, what is necessary and how we could all work together to ensure that every young person in St. Kitts and Nevis has equitable opportunity to ensure that his or her future is as bright as we anticipate and expect for it to be,” said Mr. Liburd.
Minister with responsibility for Youth, the Honourable Shawn Richards, urged young persons to use the forum to their benefit, as he cannot sit in an office and determine all of the issues affecting young persons, and figure out some of the programmes that they would like to see implemented to benefit the youth of St. Kitts and Nevis.
“That guidance must come from you, and at this forum I am hoping that you would highlight some of the issues affecting you and some of the ways in which you feel those particular issues can be addressed,” said Minister Richards. “I am also hoping that we don’t have shy persons amongst us but that we have persons who will indeed stand up and give their own views.”
Minister Richards explained that to date, the programmes implemented by the Department of Youth Empowerment are reflective of the needs of the federation’s young people and that other programmes are being developed to advance the cause of young people in St. Kitts and Nevis.
He made specific mention of the Federal Youth Policy which was tabled in Parliament on November 14, and noted that it is a policy in which he decided must become a reality upon taking office in February 2015. He said that now it has become a reality, it is his hope that “the policy doesn’t just sit on a desk, but instead, becomes a working document on behalf of the young people.”
“Your views were consulted going into the policy… I am therefore hoping that part of the discussion will be about the Youth Policy and how you expect to see it working on your behalf,” Minister Richards stated.
The remaining activities to further celebrate Youth Month 2017, which is observed under the theme “Empowering our Youth to Soar for Much More”, include the High School Chef Competition on November 23; the Youth Month March and Rally and the Youth Group Fair and SKN Youth Business Expo on November 24; High School Choir Fest on November 26; Youth Parliament on November 29; and the Youth Service Reception on November 30.