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Caribbean Leaders Challenged To Invest In Youth

The Hon Perry Christie, CARICOM Chairman and Prime Minister of The Bahamas
The Hon Perry Christie, CARICOM Chairman and Prime Minister of The Bahamas

NASSAU, THE BAHAMAS – Chairman of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie, Prime Minister of the Bahamas, on Thursday (February 26) underscored the need for investing in youth, a critical component of the Region’s human capital.

Delivering his address to the opening ceremony of the 26th Inter-sessional CARICOM Summit, underway in Nassau, Prime Minister Christie stressed, “if we do not address the challenges faced by our young people; we do so at our grave peril.”

He referenced several renowned CARICOM personalities including Bob Marley, the Mighty Sparrow, Sir Sidney Poitier, Sir Garfield Sobers, Lenny Kravitz, Rihanna, Usain Bolt, the West Indies cricket team, Derek Walcott, George Lamming, V.S. Naipaul, Eric Williams, Sir Arthur Lewis, C.L.R. James and Rex Nettleford, who gained regional and international acclaim for excelling in music, sport and academia. These personalities collectively demonstrate that the Region has the depth and diversity of human capital needed to drive our societies forward, he stated.

The Prime Minister emphasised that time was optimal for action to implement the ideas drawn from the Region’s youth, which are contained in the 2010 Declaration of Paramaribo on the future of youth in the Caribbean.

caribbean youth“In that Declaration we agreed to support actions aimed at empowering and developing youth in the region.  We have done the research. We have the views of the youth. Let us take the necessary action to deliver on the provision of Paramaribo and ensure that tomorrow’s leaders are academically, socially and mentally ready for building on the policies of yesteryear”, he said.

Noting that the decision to include for consideration the issue of leveraging the Community’s  human, cultural and natural resources for its economic development was precipitated by the CARICOM mandate to address the common goal of a sustained developmental path for the common man and woman, the Prime Minister told the meeting  he “…will be seeking a regional commitment to greater investment and attention to Education, Culture and Sports.

“Our challenge, our mandate, our imperative, is to show our young people, that we, as leaders, care about who they are, where they are and what they are doing, and that we are determined to develop sound and viable strategies for helping them make their futures brighter than they may appear right now,” the CARICOM Chairman stated.

Against this backdrop he noted with satisfaction that the Rt Hon. P. J. Patterson, former Prime Minister of Jamaica will lead the discussions on CARICOM’s human capital.

“It is so vitally important that we identify practical, sustainable methodologies for strengthening and enriching the human capital of our Region”, he said
The Prime Minister also challenged the Meeting to ensure that female empowerment is a priority not only as a “moral imperative” but also as a social necessity.

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