Remarks by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Youth, Honourable Shawn Richards on the Occasion of Youth Month 2018

My fellow citizens, today I am honoured to stand with youth as we collectively herald
the start of Youth Month 2018, under the theme “Preserving Our Land of Beauty”.
It is indeed immeasurably important that we each ensure our nation’s youth of a
safe, supportive and enabling environment every day of their lives. However, each
year, Youth Month presents us with an opportunity to lend focus to the positive
uplifting of our youth.


Youth Month offers us an opportunity to facilitate and celebrate the dreams,
aspirations, talents and energies of our young people, ages 12 through 29 years,
from all backgrounds.


The Month allows us, as a nation, the opportunity to collectively recognise the
achievements of some of our outstanding young citizens across numerous
disciplines. It also affords us the opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to creating
an environment that recognizes their value, enables their growth and empowers
them to recognise their fullest potential as productive and patriotic citizens of St. Kitts
and Nevis.


Over the next few weeks, we would engage in a series of initiatives designed by the
Department of Youth Empowerment and other partners, to highlight ongoing youth
contributions to the development of our communities. Many activities will recognise
and celebrate excellence among young people, who have dedicated much of their
days honing their talents in numerous fields including the visual arts, the culinary
arts, and performing arts.


I take this opportunity to commend those among us that have dedicated the time and
energies to encouraging the dreams; building the skills and shaping the characters of
our youth over the last year or years and indeed across a number of disciplines. I
also take this opportunity to invite the public to come out to support and to
encourage our youth as they participate in events planned as part of this year’s
youth month celebrations.


Some key events include The High Schools’ Chef Competition, November 22nd at
the Old Boys’ School; the SPARTA-lead Visual Art Exhibition of Student Artwork,
opening November 14th at The Cable Building; and the exciting High School Choir
Festival, November 26th at the Sir Cecil Jacobs Auditorium. Each of these events is
open to the general public and we welcome all to come out and cheer on our
talented and creative young people.


For those wanting to cheer a little closer to home, we invite you to lend your voices
of encouragement to the youth and youthful that accept the challenge to ride a
bicycle around the island on Sunday, November 4th during the Department of Youth
Empowerment’s 3rd Annual Island Bike Ride.

For those wanting to work more closely with the youth, we invite you to engage with
your local youth or youth organization in executing small projects that serve to
improve the community on any or both of the Youth Service Days of November 10th
and 17th.
Speaking of service, the Ministry of Youth Empowerment endeavours to build the
capacities of our youth to effectively serve their communities and our country. This is
why Saturday, November 3rd will see the FIRST AID and CPR certification training
of thirty individuals from youth organisations and youth-serving organisations. I
commend again those persons that stand up and volunteer to serve our youth and I
commit to lend every support to ensuring their improved capacities to better serve.
As is the case each year, Global Entrepreneurship Week will see a number of
initiatives that facilitate our enterprising youth through training, networking, and
exhibition of youth business offerings.


As the Ministry of Youth Empowerment seeks to promote and facilitate the inclusion
of all youth, November 15th will see the hosting of the Department’s 3rd Annual Fun
Day for differently-abled youth. This is expected to be a day of fun and confidence
building for differently-abled youth.


Another important activity is the 25 Most Remarkable Teens Awards Ceremony, the
premier Youth Excellence Awards Ceremony on the Federation and arguably in the
region. This year’s awards will bring the total to 200, the number of outstanding
youth to have received this honour since it’s began some eight years ago. I wish to
commend the proud parents, guardians, nominators, neighbours, coaches, friend,
family members and all others who have shaped these remarkable youth. I
encourage us all not only to condemn the mistakes of our young people but also to
acknowledge their positives, recognise their accomplishments and encourage their
positive growth.


I encourage us to be mindful of this month’s theme, Preserving Our Land of Beauty”
and while it may evoke an urge to uphold the aesthetic beauty of our fair land, we
must also remember to hold true to the inherent beauty of our people. We are a
resourceful people, a proud people, a progressive, supportive, and helpful people, a
creative people, a fun-loving people, we retain all the qualities of a true beauty and I
encourage us all this month and beyond, to preserve our land of beauty.
Happy Youth Month 2018.

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