Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 29, 2018 (SKNIS): Participants at Wednesday’s (November 28, 2018) 2nd Annual Minister’s Youth Forum expressed their appreciation for the interactive session that saw important information being shared by the leadership of the Department of Youth Empowerment and the Ministry of Youth relating to government’s youth development agenda.

Dvonne Cornelius, a youth activist based in Nevis, was among the more than 100 youth who attended the forum held at the Ocean Terrace Inn.

“Today’s forum was very informative,” he said. “I got the opportunity to learn about the different ideas that will be implemented in the education sector in St. Kitts and Nevis. It was very good to be a part of – having the young people share their ideas and perspectives on ways how to make the education sector better.”

C. F. Bryant College student, Zidane Knight shared similar sentiments. She noted that she was part of the St. Kitts and Nevis delegation that participated in the November 19-23, 2018 Eastern Caribbean Youth Symposium held in Trinidad. Ms. Knight expressed that based on the discussions in Trinidad, and at yesterday’s forum, there are similar issues confronting young people across the Caribbean region. She added that she was going to use her experience from the regional symposium to make a change here at home.

“They were training us about activism and they were basically teaching us about how to push for policy changes, and I believe that a similar group can be started here,” Ms. Knight stated, adding that she is willing to work with her fellow peers from St. Kitts and Nevis who also attended the regional meeting to start an “awareness group to push for policy change.”

Entrepreneur Shane Browne went to the Minister’s Youth Forum intent on learning more about government’s initiatives to assist young people in growing their businesses. Deputy Prime Minister Richards was able to share about the recent launch of the Small Business Development Centre (SBDC), as well as efforts to strengthen and enhance the Department of Youth Empowerment’s business training programme.

“The feedback that was given is definitely one that each entrepreneur can look into and we can kind of mould that into the structure of our business,” Mr. Browne stated.  “From there, we can also continue to give our advice to kind of tailor not a perfect plan, but … business projects or ventures that will [help] us to be much more successful, and much more profitable.

The young entrepreneur is volunteering his expertise to help train younger persons, having left the youth forum inspired by the business initiatives of the Department of Youth Empowerment.

In relation to the Minister’s Youth Forum, he said: “We need sessions like these that are informative, that [allow] us a voice, so that we can be able to get feedback and answers [that] can guide our way forward.”

In reflecting on the success of the 2nd Annual Minister’s Youth Forum, Deputy Prime Minister Richards noted his pleasure in interacting with the young people from various backgrounds across St. Kitts and Nevis. He promised to hold similar events in the future.

The interactive forum was attended by high school students, and members of youth groups, as well as representatives of civic organizations, debating groups, faith-based institutions, the Youth Volunteer Corps, the 25 Most Remarkable Teens programme and other agencies.

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