Minister Riley heads delegation to CARICOM Youth Forum

BRADES – Minister of Education, Health & Youth Affairs Colin Riley is heading the Montserrat delegation to the CARICOM Youth Forum, which began on Monday and runs until January 31 in Suriname.

He is accompanied by Parliamentary Secretary for Youth Affairs Jermaine Wade, CARICOM Youth Ambassador for Montserrat, Ian Gerald, and Youth Representative Deonne Semple.

Last November, Montserrat hosted a consultation on the draft report from the CARICOM Commission on Youth Development (CCYD), which will be presented in a two-day CARICOM Heads of Government Summit on Youth Development, which opens on Friday.

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary-General Carrington has described the Report on the situation of Caribbean Youth as a watershed document in the Community’s 37- year history, noting that the findings and recommendations “may turn out to have provided the only sure path through which the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) may eventually come to fruition.”

The 15-member Commission was asked by CARICOM Heads of Government to assess the situation of youth in the CSME and recommend forward-thinking policies that could guide governments in empowering young people and improving the quality of their lives.

The Regional Youth Forum, supported by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), brings together more than 200 young people from across the region to discuss and develop a response to the findings of the Commission’s Report.

In making a case for greater youth involvement within the life of the Community, the CARICOM Secretary-General said the young people will be the beneficiaries not only of the CSME, but also of the integration arrangements; therefore it was vital for them to be involved in the building process as well.

He challenged the youth “not just to look for the benefits that might accrue from the opportunities within the CSME,” but also to use their energy, creativity and skill to help in the building of the kind of Community in which they wanted to live. “This week is about harnessing your ideas and winning the hearts and minds of the policymakers to make those ideas their ideas so that together we can plot a course that would benefit you – an integral part of our Community,” Mr. Carrington added.