Matters involving and affecting young people in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) are expected to be better highlighted and addressed with the establishment of the Prime Ministerial Advisory Council on Youth.
The Council, which was launched on October 23, is made up of 29 young people who will be given the opportunity to contribute to the decision making processes of the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines.
In his address at the launching ceremony at the Methodist Church Hall in Kingstown, Advisory Council Chairperson Anson Latchman said the Council is geared towards advocating for the youth and enhancing youth development in SVG.
He said the Council, which boasts of a core committee “comprising of a highly qualified cadre of youths,” will be ably assisted by sectoral chairpersons, and has “the mandate to advise on policy matters, projects, programmes, and advocating for youth involvement in the decision-making process of the government.”
Latchman said already, the Council has begun its work, with some members having had the opportunity to meet with representatives from UNICEF.
“… A conversation for potential collaboration has begun. The website and social media pages are under construction. Indeed there is power in the youth,” he said, adding that “more youths will be involved in the Council as the sectoral groups will require additional support to ensure that the government is soundly advised. This Youth Council will balance experience and youth as we are well poised to leverage a platform set by the government to deliver a many sided resilient nation.”
Minister of Youth Dr Orando Brewster told the audience that the history of St Vincent and the Grenadines is rich with organisations that are youth based. “There have been many organisations here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and many have impacted the lives of many Vincentians here.”
Delivering the feature address at the launch ceremony, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves outlined the sectoral groups which are represented on the Prime Ministerial Advisory Council on Youth. They include the professions, agriculture, sports, culture, health, information technology, tourism and hospitality, climate change, housing, Grenadines, creative industries, business and entrepreneurship, labour, media, regional integration, foreign policy, the diaspora, and education.
Prime Minister Gonsalves explained that each chairperson will work in their individual areas but the group will function as a whole.
“What we have to do really is to ensure that each of these sectoral groups will function, and you feed into a larger whole, so you will be doing your work; the core committee will be doing coordination with you, as the chairpersons while you work in your individual groups also to help provide advice.”
Also delivering remarks on the night of the launch was Senator Shackell Bobb, who sits on the Council as an advisor.
The other members of the Council are: Deputy Chairman Rodney Small, Secretary Ruthann Williams, Augustine Ferdinand, Shackheil Simmons, Amber Glasgow, Darron Rodan John, Chris-Ann Mofford, Bebrone Derona Burke, Kwesi Allen and Oreika Mc Kenzie.
The heads of the sectoral committees are: Sherina Slater-Browne – The Professions; Makeda Greene – Agriculture; Zenna Lewis – Sports; Javid Rouse – Culture; John Keil – Health; Cenus Hinds – Information Technology; Zuleika Lewis – Tourism and Hospitality; Nafesha Richardson – Climate Change; James Campbell – Housing; Dillon Ollivierre – Grenadines; Christal Oliver – Creative Industries; Storm Gonsalves – Business and Entrepreneurship; Sophia Jackson – Labour; Chanolde Munroe – Media; Caywama Edwards – Church; Tamira Browne – Regional Integration and Foreign policy; Nyala De Freitas – Diaspora; and Kaville Hazlewood – Education.