Federation’s Prime Minister, the Hon Dr Denzil Douglas, has congratulated the Youth Empowerment through Skills (YES) Programme on its first anniversary, with his personal commitment of the programme’s continuation as it endeavours to empower the youth. Dr Douglas made the remarks Friday evening at the Royal St. Kitts Hotel and Casino where he attended a dinner hosted By the hotel trades students of the YES Programme to mark the first anniversary the programme, which he launched last year in a bid to stem joblessness and idleness among the youth. “I am delighted to extend the congratulations of the government in the celebration of the one year anniversary of the Youth Empowerment through Skills (YES) Programme and to commend this evening’s presentation By the hotel trades class,” observed the Prime Minister as he delivered the feature address. He told the guests who included the Governor General, His Excellency Sir, Dr Cuthbert Sebastian, Minister with responsibility for the YES Programme, Glenn Phillip, and his Permanent Secretary, Lloyd Lazaar, that the YES Programme has been of tremendous benefits to the nearly 1500 young people who have so far been involved. According to the Prime Minister, it was important to commend the various tutors in the programme as well as the many persons in the public and private sectors who have been contributing guidance and experience to the YES Programme participants. He told the diners that while it was crucial to be reminded of the relevance of the YES Programme, he pointed out that initially it had many detractors, but through it all, it had been able to achieve with pride and distinction a number of strategic pointers, which he named as: 1: Introduced many young people to the world of work; 2: Enabled young people to acquire work related skills; 3: Created a greater sense of discipline and engendered self-awareness; 4: Exposed their minds to productive endeavours; 5: Planted the seeds for greater involvement in the economy By being participants; and 6: Engendered a sense of direction, value, and a higher purpose for the lives of those who are participating as young people. “Tonight, as the Prime Minister of this country, I feel very proud that over the last twelve months we have been able to impact the lives of nearly 1500 young people,” said Dr Douglas. “There were the naysayers who said this programme cannot last for three, six or even eight months. Tell them it has lasted for twelve months and it is continuing.” The neatly attired hotel trades students, who had prepared the dinner, along with the invited guests cheered when the Prime Minister commented that after having been treated to a most delicious meal By the same students in September last year. He announced: “Tonight I look forward again to my four course dinner that I am sure all of us are waiting to taste.” Minister Glenn Phillip addressed the diners before the meal was served, while general remarks were made By manager of the YES Programme Secretariat, Leslie Connor. Welcome remarks were offered By one of the hotel trades tutors, Michael Guishard, and his colleague Dominic Stevens gave the vote of thanks. Also attending the anniversary dinner, which was chaired By journalist and social commentator Larry Vaughan, were advisor in the Ministry of International Transport and Tourism, Cedric Liburd, First Vice President of the St. Kitts and Nevis Trades and Labour Union, Sydney Bridgewater, YES Programme’s officials, June James, Esinton Watts and Vaughn Edmeade. Bishop E. Williams offered the invocation while YES Programme student and former Kittitian idol participant, Ketura Liburd, rendered the national anthem.