Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 02, 2015 (SKNIS): Youth across the region and worldwide are categorized as gifted with unique perspectives, energy, innovative spirits and other natural attributes that must be realized as essential elements for positive societal change said the Honourable Shawn Richards Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Youth during his address to declare open Youth Month, which is celebrated in November under the theme “Give Youth a Voice and Inspire Greatness.”

Minister Richards said such attributes combined with the use of technological innovation and a passion for creativity make youth invaluable partners in nation development.

The Deputy Prime Minister said his Government is dedicated to ensuring that youth issues are brought to the forefront.

“The Unity Government has committed to align efforts with those of regional and international youth development agencies in identifying and mitigating the critical youth marginalization factors of our time,” he said “Some may argue that youth should be a carefree time of life, and that young people need not bother themselves with such millennium development issues such as reducing poverty, controlling the spread of HIV/AIDS, sustainable development and the others. We however are forced to face the reality that young people and children are most vulnerable to the societal ills of the day, and are well able to contribute to their demise.”

The minister of youth reflected on studies which show that society’s primary issues such as violence and crime, unemployment and the spread of HIV/AIDS directly impact Caribbean Youth.

Minister Richards made mention of other commitments that the Government has pledged to uphold where youth are concerned. These include policy changes, intergovernmental alliances and public private partnerships that engender an enabling environment in which young people can navigate the changes of life.

“My Government is committed to empowering our youth beyond mere tokenism, through creating and supporting conditions rich with opportunity and structure in which our youth can rise to the task of self-enablement and sufficiency,” he said, while acting on their own terms, rather than aimlessly following the directions of others.

Minister Richards said that the act of empowering youth is only brought about when they are given the tools to make choices in life while accepting the outcome of those choices.

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