Needs of Caribbean Youth discussed at Youth Ministers caucus

Guyana Chronicle
October 5, 2000

THE EFFECTS of globalisation and trade liberalisation on the youth population in the Region, and the role and interventions by Ministers of Youth shared the spotlight at the deliberations of CARICOM Ministers of Youth on Tuesday.

This is the first meeting of CARICOM Youth Ministers to be held in Guyana, and it was hosted by Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Gail Teixeira.

On Tuesday evening, Teixeira shared a press briefing with Mr Mario Michel, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Human Resource Development, Youth and Sports of St Lucia, and Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports of St Kitts and Nevis, Jacinth Henry-Martin.

Minister Teixeira said the issues of debt crisis, resource mobilisation for youth development, the birth of a regional strategy to influence international donor community and to incorporate 'youth at risk' programmes and investments will be key items at the next meeting.

Other issues discussed were, the impact of single market economy on youth, employment, social stability; mainstreaming youth in the development process and into the CARICOM Heads of Government Agenda; role and functions of CARICOM Youth Desk in relation to CARICOM Ministers of Youth and Youth Development.

Minister Teixeira promised that the Ministers will continue to devise developmental programmes in terms of enhancing the development of youths in the Caribbean.

The responses given by the youth Ministers at the caucus indicated that youths in the Regions are on the move.

Meanwhile, Assistant Secretary-General, Human and Social Development, CARICOM Secretariat, Dr Edward Greene, feels there should be a new approach to youth development.

He made these remarks based upon the demands made by the youths in their presentations at the Youth Explosion which involved Youth Ministers held in April, this year in Grenada.

This caucus was jointly hosted by CARICOM, the Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

Dr Greene added that these discussions require urgent attention by the Ministers of Youth.

He said: "In framing these social and economic policies, we need to be cognisant that the youths are demanding greater participation in the design, implementation and management of the processes that are intended to improve their well-being. But it is important from the onset that they recognise that entitlements and rights are accompanied by responsibilities."

Dr Greene continued: "The items on the agenda for discussion demonstrate a sensitivity to the major elements that require the attention of Ministers of Youth. The need to embark on strategic partnerships among key stakeholders; target vulnerable groups (families, youth-in-poverty, young males, etc) at the community level, mainstream youth issues into the social and economic development agenda, and focus on issues including inter-generational dialogue; youth participation, representation and consultation; effective management of cultural diversity and the forging of bonds on inter-cultural appreciation, understanding and peace and the development of integrated policy/regulatory frameworks."

He stated that it is also important for the Ministers to note that these propositions revolve around the notions of equity, empowerment, social inclusion and social justice.

Dr Greene said while opportunities must be created for young people in the new economy, it is essential to recognise that they need access to education at various levels, to adequate health care employment prospects, outlets for their creative talents in arts and culture and for enhancing their capabilities in sporting endeavours.

He indicated that the CARICOM Secretariat which serves the Region as a whole, has a vested interest in these "deliberations which will hopefully point the way to the roles that we can play as one of several partners in advancing those policies to ensure that the youth are engaged, rather than alienated, from playing a vital role in shaping the future that really belongs to them." (Stacey Davidson)

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