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Caribbean Regional Stakeholders reaching out to the youth

WASHINGTON, DC – Decision makers must hear from youth in the Eastern Caribbean. This was the message of St Kitts and Nevis Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Sam Terrence Condor as he delivered the keynote address at the closing ceremony of the Second POETA Regional Stakeholders Meeting held at the St Kitts and Nevis Marriott Resort on June 17, 2009.

The two-day meeting entitled “Youth Voices in a Changing Economic Climate,” featured face to face dialogue between youth and 50 government and private sector stakeholders from six Eastern Caribbean countries to discuss the most pressing challenges facing youth in the current economic climate.

The Meeting was part of the program, Partnership for Opportunities in Employment through Technology in the Americas (POETA), an initiative of The Trust for the Americas, a not for profit affiliate of the Organization of American States.

At the ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister Condor noted that, “We must hear from our youth. Their involvement and input is very important.” He added that, “Your meeting theme reflects the urgent need not only to promote but also to mainstream innovative means for youth integration and inclusion in the active economy and in leadership roles in our societies.” He commended the POETA program, noting that “POETA’s outreach of skills development for youth is pivotal for employability, employment opportunities, and capacity building and is therefore a vital input into the efforts of our nations’ governments.”

The Deputy Prime Minister’s words just after the OAS Secretary General, Jose Miguel Insulza highlighted the importance of this hemispheric initiative at the Fifth Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago. Secretary General Insulza has continually supported the POETA Youth program as a key tool for youth development in the Caribbean.

Deputy Prime Minister Condor also presented a Youth Development Award to POETA youth participant, Lester Thomas of Grenada, for his outstanding performance in the POETA program and for exemplifying positive leadership and self development. POETA youth participants Lester Thomas, Vernessa John of Grenada and Neil Charles of St Lucia were awarded at the closing ceremony for excelling in POETA training activities and for exemplifying positive leadership. They received Dell laptops sponsored by Digicel.

At the meeting’s opening, addresses were made by Ms. Dominique Garro-Strauss, Representative of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada; Mr. George Gobin, GM Microsoft Bermuda and the West Indies; OAS St Kitts and Nevis Local Office Director, Mr. Starrett Greene and David Rojas, POETA Director, The Trust for the Americas. This meeting was made possible through a generous contribution from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada.

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