The dialogue was attended by members of the Federal Cabinet, led by Prime Minister Dr. Drew, senior government officials, leaders within the private sector and a group of enthusiastic young people representing key youth organizations, secondary schools, tertiary level institutions, as well as young professionals in St. Kitts and Nevis.
Prime Minister Dr. Drew, in his opening remarks, said that it is imperative that the young people have input in any and all discussions that will ultimately affect them and impact the future development of the country.
“We have chosen the theme for this year’s National Consultation to be ‘Transformation to a Sustainable Island State: A Conversation with the Nation’s Youth’. This theme is reflective of the Government’s commitment to fulfil its objectives in pursuit of our Sustainable Island State Agenda. It also signals our administration’s commitment to giving our youth a voice in any dialogue that speaks to the development of our beloved St. Kitts and Nevis. As an inclusive Government, we must consider the contributions of our young persons on all policies that affect them. We therefore welcome all of our youths here today as partners and leaders in our pursuit to transform St. Kitts and Nevis into this great idea of a Sustainable Island State,” the prime minister said.
Dr. Drew also stated that the ultimate aim is to establish an island state that the youths are proud to inherit. He added, “If we don’t get it right, we run the risk of losing what we have and in the end, they would have nothing, and that is why we say that they have to be at the forefront leading to the establishment of such a state and, saying to us that they want a state to inherit and ask of us to do what is necessary to make sure that we do such.”
Against this backdrop, the honourable prime minister impressed upon the youths in attendance and those who joined virtually the urgent need to address issues that can hamper growth and development, such as climate change.
“The lack of water security is part of climate change, the threat of category five hurricanes is part of climate change, the seaweed or sargassum that is now showing up on our shores affecting the very beauty of our beaches is as a result of climate change, the mould that is growing so much more quickly in your buildings and offices is as a result of climate change. The lesson then is that climate change is upon us and as a resilient people who never throw in the towel, it is that [strength] that is needed now so that we can deal with the scourge of climate change.”
The transformation of the nation into a Sustainable Island State is based on seven (7) key pillars of the Federation’s Sustainable Island State Agenda, namely, food security, green energy transition, economic diversification, sustainable industries, the creative economy, COVID-19 recovery, and social protection.