Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 11, 2016 (SKNIS): Dwynette Eversley of Trinidad and Tobago is in St. Kitts and Nevis for the next six months to help guide the establishment of a Federal Youth Policy.

Ms. Eversley is no stranger to the twin-island federation as she frequently visited and engaged with local officials while serving as the Programme Manager for the Commonwealth Youth Programme of the Commonwealth Secretariat from 2004 to 2014. During and after her tenure with the secretariat, Ms. Eversley worked with several Caribbean countries on youth development initiatives including Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia and Turks and Caicos.

St. Kitts and Nevis’ Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Youth, Honourable Shawn Richards, said he was grateful for the technical and financial support from the Commonwealth Secretariat and UNESCO in this process, which provided for the youth policy consultant. He said Ms. Eversley brings a wealth of expertise and experience which will greatly enhance the end product and outline its basic functions.

“The Federal Youth Policy is designed to be the central planning tool for youth interventions throughout the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis,” Minister Richards said. “It is intended to serve as an overarching policy guide toward mainstreaming youth development in every ministry of government over the next five years.

“… This policy must be robust, it must be current, and it must meet the needs of the youth of the Federation for the day and age. It must take into account all of the changes in the socioeconomic landscape of our country and consider recent developments on the international level in issues such as globalization, human rights, freedom of expression, gender equality, climate change, universal secondary education, and the advancement of information and communication technology.”

The task of meeting this mandate will fall to Ms. Eversley and technicians from the Departments of Youth in St. Kitts and in Nevis. They will review the current draft of the policy, go out into the field to engage with individuals and stakeholder groups and produce a brand new document that reflects the feedback from the consultations, and take into account the realities of today’s world. Once the Federal Policy has been established, the group will then turn its attention to producing a strategic action plan for the next five years.

“I am therefore appealing to all young people to get on board with this initiative,” Minister Richards said, adding that segments of the population to be engaged include young men and women, youth with a disability, unemployed youth, school aged youth, rural youth, youth heading a household, youth in conflict with the law or incarcerated, and many others.
“You are the targets of the youth policy. This initiative is for you. We want to address the many challenges you face and recommend solutions and measures for improvement,” the deputy prime minister added. He encouraged them to get involved in the dialogue and share honest answers and suggestions with the staff.