On Wednesday 3rd November 2022, Her Excellency Dr. Carla N. Barnett, Secretary General of the Caribbean Community paid a courtesy call on the Executive and General Membership of the St. Kitts National Youth Parliament Association (SKNYPA).
Dr. Barnett who was in the Federation on official duties, made time to engage with SKNYPA at the Association’s Secretariat. In his welcoming remarks, President of SKNYPA, Mr. Mauriel Knight, thanked the Secretary-General for her presence and commitment thus far in preserving the CSME and advancing the cause of true regional integration. Thereafter, Dr. Barnett thanked the Association for her invitation and said that she always makes it her business to meet with young people as young people are critical to the region’s development. Dr. Barnet also said to the members present, “don’t be afraid to embrace your roles as leaders, you are not leaders of tomorrow you are leaders of the Youth today.”
Following the brief introduction, Dr. Barnett was apprised of the history, mission and activities of SKNYPA. Additionally, the Association’s Vice President, Mr. Malakhi Ferguson, shared upcoming plans and initiatives geared towards the advancement of public education, youth involvement in civic and political activities as well as volunteerism. The advancement of SKNYPA into the regional sphere was also highlighted in the meeting.
Members present were then invited to participate in an open discussion regarding critical issues facing our youth, nation and region. Highlighted issues included agriculture, food security, mental health, gender roles, technology, recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, governance, electoral reform and youth skills training.
To conclude, avenues for collaboration were explored, particularly through the CARICOM Youth Ambassadors and the local Corps.
The SKNYPA expresses gratitude to Dr. Barnett for her willingness to share in this forum. The Association continues to encourage conversations like these as they represent avenues for the voice of young people to be heard on issues of national and regional interest.