by Kevon Browne
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN) – Junior Minister of Youth Empowerment et al., Hon. Isalean Phillip hosted a Youth Forum as part of Youth Month in November 2022, where young people could engage with the government ministers and voice their concerns about the state of the country and have their voices heard.
The forum was held at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort on November 15, where some 150 young people of the Federation gathered to learn more about government programmes and activities directly impacting the younger generation.
During the Prime Minister’s Press Conference, the Junior Minister gave a summary of the Forum, where she asked the young people in attendance what empowerment means for them, among other questions.
“I asked questions to the young people who were here to kind of get a sense of what empowerment means to them, what they’re looking for; how COVID-19 would have impacted them and we got some very clear, very complex, very well thought out and maturely thought out questions and answers in relation to the impact of the pandemic and what a COVID-19 pandemic recovery would look like.”
Some of the concerns and needs of the young people were the need for employment, volunteer opportunities, skill development and resources to develop initiatives.
Also announced during the youth forum was a new tertiary scholarship opportunity that has opened up in Europe.
“While we had our Youth Forum with the ministers, the Prime Minister was able to announce to the young people the hundred and thirty-something young persons here with Samal and Minister Phillip present, that Germany has answered to our call or cry for scholarships, so we now have Germany on our list of scholarships,” said Deputy Prime Minister – Hon Dr. Geoffrey Hanley, the Minister of Education and Youth Empowerment, during the Prime Minister’s Press Conference.
The Deputy Prime Minister also lamented that some scholarship opportunities offered through the Government were not being taken advantage of and has since set out to rectify that issue.
“There are a number of scholarship opportunities that were sitting there, that person did not take advantage of; and since assuming the role of the Minister of Education, we have put a scholarship desk within the Ministry of Education so that every scholarship that comes through this country, whether through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or through HR, the Ministry of Education would have that and we would also make sure that we get people to apply for these scholarships. As the Minister of Education, there is no way next year Morocco who gave us 10 scholarships, and we only choose three and then one of my colleagues from St. Lucia is telling me 35 St. Lucians went to Morocco. We are going to make sure that wherever we get these scholarships, we are going to identify the persons to fit them because we need our own speech therapist to assist our children with autism, our occupational therapist. So our people must now get in that mindset that they must go out, study, come back and invest in our people.”
In attendance were the Prime Minister – Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew, Deputy Prime Minister – Hon. Dr. Geoffrey Hanley, the Minister of Education and Youth Empowerment and the Minister of Sports and the Creative Economy et al. – Hon. Samal Duggins.