Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 27, 2016 (SKNIS): Sheldon Henry, 25, of Brick Kiln, Nevis and Elrick Francis, 26, of St. Pauls Village, St. Kitts, are the two newest members to join the Federation’s CARICOM (Caribbean Community) Youth Ambassador (CYA) Programme.
Henry will serve as the primary Ambassador with Francis as the alternate. They replace Dennis McCall and Trevis Belle, who are away pursuing academic studies. This week, the new CYAs met with Sahira David, Senior Youth Officer in the Department of Youth Empowerment and Acting Director of Youth, Pierre Liburd, where they were further briefed on their responsibilities to raise awareness about CARICOM issues and priorities; raise the profile of young people on the national and regional levels; and assist with integrating the views and perspectives of regional youth into national, regional and international policies and programmes. The youth advocates were also updated on plans for November’s commemoration of Youth Month.
Ambassador Henry said the CYA programme was a natural fit given his background in international affairs and diplomacy. He worked as an intern at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2014 and 2015, and also has a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Political Science from the University of the West Indies. “I thought it (the CYAP) would be a really good foundation in diplomacy and it is a good avenue where I can actually advocate the youth position in different forums,” he said.
Similar sentiments were shared by Ambassador Francis who said he welcomes the opportunity to learn and share. “I see it as an opportunity to broaden my horizons, get in touch with new people, explore different perspectives, and to advance the ideas of youth, particularly rural youth.”
Senior Youth Officer David highlighted the community-oriented spirit and volunteer work performed by the young men and said that the leadership of the Ministry, including the Minister of Youth, Honourable Shawn Richards, was impressed with their commitment to service.
“I see them being assets,” she said. “They interviewed very well and so far based on our interaction, I feel that we have a very good team moving forward.”
The CYAs expressed a direct message to their peers. Ambassador Henry said “We are your voice. We are here to represent you in any way. If you have any questions or concerns or if there is anything that you want to be made known, we are your mouthpiece.” Ambassador Francis encouraged young people to “get involved. Go out and see what is happening in your community and try to make an input.”
The duo joins Lead Ambassador, Joy Napier and alternate Mervil Nisbett as the local CYAs.