CARICOM Secretariat, Guyana – The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary-General has described the Report on the situation of Caribbean Youth, submitted by the CARICOM Commission on Youth Development (CCYD), 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.”
Speaking at the official opening of the Regional Youth Forum on Wednesday, in Paramaribo, Suriname, Secretary-General Carrington stated that based on the quality and comprehensive nature of the Report, it was evident that the Commission’s task was a “true labour of love.”
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 then 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.
The opening ceremony of the Regional Youth Forum signals the start of one week of youth related activities leading up to the two-day CARICOM Heads of Government Summit on Youth Development, which opens on Friday. On Thursday, a special Meeting of the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) will be convened at the Torarica Hotel to discuss the Report before it is submitted to the Heads of Government for their deliberations on Friday.