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Youth unemployment one of the issues that gives PM sleepless nights

Shannon LeBourne, Government Information Service

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Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony.

Saint Lucia’s Prime Minister Dr. Kenny D. Anthony has reaffirmed government’s unwavering commitment to supporting the development of the nation’s youth.

Dr. Anthony met the executive of the National Youth Council NYC on Tuesday August 6, 2013 to hear first hand of the ideas and concerns of the youth and to discuss government’s policy for youth advancement.

The Saint Lucian Leader said the issue of youth unemployment continues to be an issue of major concern which government will spare no effort at addressing.

“For the government of Saint Lucia the young people remain a major and constant priority and as I have said repeatedly, if there is any issue that causes me sleepless nights is the issue of unemployment in the country. We have an exceedingly high unemployment rate and while it is true that we have seen a slight downward movement but we know it is excruciating for young people who have left school in recent times and there is a huge backlog for jobs so by definition we have to be concerned about our young people,” he said.

The prime minister said government will continue to support youth development through strategic investments in several areas including education, ICT, business development and sport. He says the aim is to give greater national prominence to the role and importance of youth.

Dr Anthony says the voice of the youth is critical to national development.

“It is true that the government of Saint Lucia has engaged in a number of initiatives which include reconsidering the approach to governance by creating a separate Ministry of Youth but really that’s not enough. We have to go beyond that. It is also true that we engage with a number of organizations to ensure we address the issue of unemployment but it can be painfully slow at times and we need to accelerate all of that, and am also pleased that a concerted effort has been made to place several young people on key government boards and institutions so that we can constantly hear the voice of young people.”

Prime Minister Anthony said changes which are important to secure a sustained and prosperous future for Saint Lucia must be entrusted to the youth.

During his meeting with the NYC Executive, the Prime Minister was presented with a copy of the National Youth Declaration which was developed by young people around the island outlining various concerns and ideas of the nation’s young people.

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