New Core Group to Assist Roll Out Of Youth Development Initiatives

Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 01, 2016 (SKNIS): A new group to advance the work of the CARICOM Youth Ambassadors (CYAs) of St. Kitts and Nevis, and by extension the Department of Youth Empowerment, was formally mobilized on Tuesday (November 01).

CYAs Joy Napier and Sheldon Henry will head the CYA Core Group along with their alternates Mervil Nisbett, and Elrick Francis. They are joined by De-Syl Hamilton, Shonroy Caesar, Vikell Edwards, Janeel Boon, John Napier, and Azard Gumbs. The selection process for the Core Group was undertaken during the recent call for applications for the male ambassador position. A call is being made for six female youth leaders who are interested in serving as members of the CYA Core Group.

Several of the youth leaders were welcomed on board the newly established group by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Youth, Honourable Shawn Richards on Tuesday. He thanked them for their willingness to serve the nation’s youth and to push forward the national development agenda. The minister highlighted the important role that the CYAs play as the focal point in raising awareness for, and the implementation of programmes and activities of CARICOM. The CYAs also advocate the opinions of local youth at the regional and international levels.

Honourable Richards congratulated the ambassadors and core members on their appointment and urged them to remain committed and active to furthering youth development. The deputy prime minister committed to a closer working relationship between his ministry (which also includes education and sports) and the youth leaders and noted that their service comes at a historic time when the government is pushing forward with the establishment of a Federal Youth Policy to guide the actions, interventions and programmes of both government and civil society in serving the youth population.

The first public engagement on the draft youth policy takes place on Friday, November 04, at a Youth Rally at Independence Square. Officials acting under instructions from the Department of Youth Empowerment will conduct a brief survey to gather the opinions of the participants and audience members. The following week, a larger survey activity will take place in communities across St. Kitts and Nevis. The activities are part of events for November’s commemoration of Youth Month.

Newly appointed lead ambassador Sheldon Henry, said that the Core Group will be quite busy as they assist with activities for Youth Month. They will lead the Youth Group Fair on November 12 and will be fully involved in other events including the 25 Most Remarkable Teen Awards on November 10; the National Youth Forum on November 21 in St. Kitts, and November 22 in Nevis.

“During Youth Month, the CYA Core Group will be actively engaged in seeking the support of our federation’s youth in volunteering, participating and making positive change in their communities,” Ambassador Henry stated.

Newly selected member of the Core Group, John Napier, said he looks forward to serving. “I feel like this is a wonderful opportunity. I think that this is a good platform for many of us to be involved in such a significant and impactful programme.”

Acting Director of the Department of Youth Empowerment, Pierre Liburd, said the group’s formation is in keeping with the department’s focus to spur volunteerism and national service among young people in order to positively channel their energies and creativity toward national development.

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