“To realize a more equitable future for Montserrat, and the youths of the Caribbean, the G20 countries should help to expand our economic horizons by investing in new industries and sectors, moving beyond government employment and tourism,” declared Montserrat Youth Parliamentarian Hayley-Shai Kassie, in her debate in the UK House of Commons last Friday.
The young parliamentarian joined other Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies Youth Parliamentarians in presenting on the topic “The most important issue of equality facing young people in my territory today.”
In attendance at the Youth Parliament Debate were Governor Sarah Tucker and Premier Farrell, who have been in the UK for annual meetings with their counterparts and UK officials.
Kassie, who is currently pursuing sixth form studies in the UK, was confident and articulate as she presented a case not only for Montserrat but the British Overseas Territories. Her presentation focused on the need to provide economic opportunities for Montserrat’s youth through improved access to higher education and diversification of Montserrat’s economy.
Prior to the debate, Kassie, along with Jaena Golden and Deuvaunn Darroux represented the island in the first Youth Summit under the auspices of the UK Overseas Territories Association (UKOTA) on Thursday, at the Speaker’s House.
Hayley-Shai Kassie’s Speech follows.
In our world today, as young person’s we cannot help but observe the global atrocities of war, human trafficking, genocide, and the looming threat of climate change. Amid these global challenges, there is a silent atrocity that threatens small states such as Montserrat and it is the issue of youth equality.
This raises the question: what specific inequalities are our young people facing? Montserrat, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, and other developing states outside of the G20 are entangled in a web of economic disparities, educational inequalities, and limited employment opportunities, necessitating an urgent and resolute response.
Over the years developing economies have been told to be reliant on government employment, construction, and tourism, while larger countries are financing AI revolution and newer technology. As a result, young people of the Caribbean region including Montserrat encounter immense difficulty in securing stable and fulfilling job opportunities, often prompting them to leave their beloved countries causing a cultural genocide of youth losing their way of life. This migration of educated youth further exacerbates these countries’ inequality, depriving not only Montserrat but countries like Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Gibraltar, and others of their skilled workforce.
Therefore, I implore this honorable gathering as young people to push their nations to help diversify developing their economies. The key to this endeavor is education and financing new industries as the cornerstone of youth equality.
To realize a more equitable future for Montserrat, and the youths of the Caribbean, the G20 countries should help to expand our economic horizons by investing in new industries and sectors, moving beyond government employment and tourism. Agriculture, renewable energy, technology, manufacturing, entrepreneurship, and creative industries hold the potential to revitalize our economy, providing opportunities for all.
This vision requires unwavering support from the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and other G7 countries to commit investments in quality education and training programs for Montserrat and other developing regional countries. If and when this is done correctly it will empower our people with the skills necessary to grow our economies so that we can stand with the United Kingdom and the rest of the world as self-reliant allies to fix the atrocities of the world today.
Youth equality in Montserrat is not an unattainable dream but a palpable goal achievable through collective determination. Let us unite to diversify our economies and empower youths, and thereby forge a brighter and more equal future for all.