Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 20, 2019 (SKNIS): Issues related to setting and achieving career goals, the expected outcomes of Youth Month 2019, youth activism on environmental matters, and assistance for young people with mental health challenges were some of the matters raised at the 3rd Annual Minister’s Youth Forum that was held on Wednesday (November 20, 2019), at the Ocean Terrace Inn.
The activity is a part of the month-long celebration of Youth that is organised by the Department of Youth Empowerment in St. Kitts every November. More than 130 persons between the ages of 12 and 29 years from St. Kitts and Nevis attended the interactive forum. They came out in their large numbers to represent their respective secondary school, youth group, faith-based institution and other organizations. Individuals such as the reigning National Carnival and Talented Teen winners, contestants for the upcoming Carnival Queen Pageant, and young entrepreneurs, as well as several officers and residents at Her Majesty’s Prison also participated in the candid forum.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth, Tom Buchanan welcomed the participants and noted that the annual discussion is one that the government is proud to host as it serves to “enlighten us all as we expound on the topics and issues that are relevant and important to society.”
“More importantly, this event is an indication that the ministry, the honourable Minister of Youth, and the government recognize that our youth are capable of forming their own views and have the right to express them freely,” Mr. Buchanan stated.” … This is also an opportunity to engage the young people for ideas that will inform policy, programme design, implementation, delivery, and assessment on an ongoing basis. This is of critical importance to the ministry because we believe that effective youth policies come from conversations that are both horizontal or youth-to-youth as well as vertical or top-down or bottom-up in nature.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Youth, the Honourable Shawn Richards, echoed similar sentiments and stated that officials were eager to engage the youth to “hear from you, to know what it is we are doing correctly, to know what it is you would like to see us do; how can we impact the lives of you the young people of St. Kitts and Nevis.”
The conversation also included ways members of the audience can help to address some of the issues raised. For instance, persons were encouraged to consider using less plastic in their daily lives as one way to curb plastic pollution.
After more than three hours of honest discussions on a host of topical issues such as climate change, public service, opportunities to pursue higher education, and other areas, officials at the Department of Youth Empowerment noted that they were very pleased with the outcome of the 3rd Annual Minister’s Youth Forum.
Acting Director of Youth Empowerment, Pierre Liburd said that exchanges such as today’s forum are ultimately the best way to advance youth development. Members of the public working together with the government, non-governmental organizations, and other agencies to promote action on the many challenges confronting young people around the world.