Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 11, 2016 (SKNIS): Junior Minister responsible for Youth in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA), Honourable Hazel Brandy-Williams, has fully endorsed the National Youth Policy Initiative, which was launched on Tuesday (October 11) at the Ocean Terrace Inn (OTI).
During a press conference to mark the event, which will eventually lead to the establishment of the Federal Youth Policy and the creation of a five year Strategic Action Plan, Minister Brandy-Williams noted that she was “overjoyed” to participate in the event given her background in youth development. She referenced her participation at the 4th annual Caribbean Youth Leader’s Summit held in Belize from September 26 to 30, and quoted its theme “Agenda 2030 from Rhetoric to Action.” The junior minister said this sentiment must be embraced particularly in youth-related matters.
“One element which cannot be overlooked is the call for young people around the region to not just talk but to ensure that our words transform to action,” she said, while sharing the head table with the Federal Minister of Youth, Honourable Shawn Richards, Special Adviser to the Minister, Vernon Connor, the Directors of Youth from both islands, Pierre Liburd (St. Kitts) and Zahnela Claxton, and Youth Consultant, Dwynette Eversley.
“This youth policy [initiative] is indicative of our commitment to move from rhetoric to action,” she stated. “I truly believe that every nation’s future is mirrored in the investment which a nation is willing to make in youth.”
As such, the junior minister applauded the initiative to establish a Federal Youth Policy as a tool that will help young people achieve their dreams, fully aware of the challenges and mediums to overcome them. This requires meticulous data collection by the researchers.
Minister Brandy-Williams added that a sound youth policy is evidenced-based, inclusive, youth driven and reflective of the dreams and aspirations of the youth. She encouraged all stakeholders to take advantage of the opportunity to shape the national development agenda.
“This policy will give all young people an opportunity to make an input, so that they can have ownership of this policy and total buy-in so that at the end of the day the end product will be their product,” she stated. “Contribute as much as you can, learn as much as you can, grow as much as you can.”
Consultant Eversley, technicians from the Departments of Youth in St. Kitts and in Nevis, and other volunteers have already begun collecting relevant data.