Several young people have expressed their disappointment with the Ministry of Youth Development and Sport for not sending a senior representative to the International Youth Day celebrations.
Some of them have taken their concerns to social media and said the absence of the Minister Shawn Edward and other officials from that ministry speaks volumes.
St. Lucia News Online (SNO) understands that the minister and another senior official were expected to attend and speak at the UNDP-sponsored event, but both persons did not show up.
These young people have also expressed disappointment with the way in which the event was put together and generally how International Youth Day was celebrated here.
Another youth who asked not to be named said: “The ceremony planned though short was enjoyable, hats off to the organizers. However the number of young persons in attendance was disheartening and so much more could have been done to showcase youth on a day that belongs to us.”
However, an official from the Youth Ministry told SNO that the event was solely organized by the National Youth Council (NYC) and the ministry only assisted with providing mattresses to the NYC to help board a few youths.
The official further explained that there was a mix up with the programme, where the NYC placed the minister’s name down to speak, but the council never got any confirmation.
According to the ministry official, the minister was out of state and could not attend the event and no one was available to fill in for him, which is the reason why no senior official was in attendance.
The source said that August is usually a bad time, because this is the period when most of the ministry staff take their annual vacation leave and there is always limited staff during this time.
In trying to explain why they might have had poor attendance, the official said a lot of young people are either on vacation in other countries or have already signed up for other summer activities.
He said that National Youth Month is celebrated every April and ministry places a lot of focus on ensuring that these activities are well attended and organised, while at the same time showcasing the island’s youth.
International Youth Day was observed on Wednesday, August 12, in several countries across the world.