St. Kitts and Nevis’ CARICOM Youth Ambassadors (CYAs) Ian Richards and Jihan Williams are back in the Federation after engaging in frank discussions with four Heads of Government from member states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) at the first ever Special Summit on Youth Development, in Suriname. The summit, which ran from January 29-30, 2010, saw the official presentation of the report from the CARICOM Commission on Youth Development (CCYD) which canvassed member states, capturing the dreams and aspirations of young people within the context of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and making recommendations to improve their wellbeing. “The meeting was well executed,” Ms. Williams noted. “It was inspiring to be around such passionate advocates championing the cause of young people. Hopefully all that was discussed between the CYAs, national representatives and Heads of Government will be immediately transformed into practical, effective and efficient plans of action.” Richards agreed with his counterpart and commended the Government and people of Suriname for their outstanding hospitality and professionalism. He added that Suriname’s President His Excellency Runaldo Venetiaan is regionally renowned for his strong youth advocacy stance, and expressed pleasure at interacting with him and the other Heads that attended the historic Summit. However, the CYAs were disappointed that more state leaders did not attend the meeting although several countries did send representatives. Those present included Chairman of CARICOM, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerritt of Dominica, President Bharrat Jagdeo of Guyana, and Prime Minister Stevenson King of St. Lucia. Although Prime Minister Honourable Dr. Denzil Douglas did not attend due to pressing issues in the wake of the 2010 federal elections, his presence was felt. In a message that was read at the Summit By Ms. Williams, the Prime Minster said the youths of the Caribbean must continue to champion their rights and responsibilities in shaping a better future for themselves and the generations to come. He commended the Commissioners of Youth Development for their seminal work and in particular, for the analyses and the recommendations which must be seriously addressed By the heads and ministers of government as well other stakeholders, including the private sector and the development partners.
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