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This was the view expressed by the President of the St. Lucia National Youth Council and Chairman of the Caribbean Regional Youth Council, Timothy Ferdinand, in a recent interview on the past year
“The past year has been dubbed a compact one for the St. Lucia National Youth Council. We had numerous challenges, especially in finance and administration, however the youth-led organization was able to press through and establish a number of beneficial partnerships and collaborations, all aimed towards rebuilding the spirit of confidence and interest of young people- to actively recognize the importance of their participation in the governance of our country and community.”
“Two of our major achievements for 2013 were the establishment of a full secretariat in January and the revitalization of the National Student Branch in February. We are proud to report that as much as twenty (20) Secondary schools now have activated Student Councils, which all gathered in November 2013 to modify its structure, its constitution and elect its National Executive in commemoration of International Students Day.”
“Also, out of its 19 district branches, the NYC made significant strides with the support of youth and sports officers of the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports, in Revitalizing all branches including the addition of its 19th the North Castries Youth & Sports Council. Though in much need of financial and administrative buttressing, these branches (some highly active and others focused on the teething process) make it commendable that every district now stands erect with youth leaders and volunteers who have accepted the charge to mobilize and fully activate the youth within their respective spheres.”
The NYC successfully run a number of programs, events and activities on areas such as youth poverty alleviation through tourism heritage, entrepreneurship through technology based initiatives, youth participation through national debates and capacity building of clubs and district branches. where the organization publicly presented its first communiqué listing forty nine (49) declarations and recommendations on behalf of its members and youth at large- A document which will serve as a reference point for future interactions and serve as a platform for productive advocacy on issues , the National Executive met with the honorable Prime Minister, Dr. Kenny Anthony, On Saturday, 21st community of Belle Vue, Vieux Fort, where its district leaders reviewed the organization’s work and agreed to a number of changes in operations and projections for 2014.”
According to its President, “Our Priority for 2014 is building a sound membership base and securing our financial standing in order to reduce over-dependency on a single source of Government Subventions. As NGOs, we can contribute to the alleviation of St. Lucia’s fiscal debt and its economic recovery by attracting foreign direct investment toward the upkeep of social and youth development programs.”
The NYC is intent on actively engaging all religious youth groups, a sector that is renowned for advocating high moral values and organization of its members, and capable of contributing immensely to the social, spiritual and psychological development of citizens. The NYC is also intent on maturely engaging all existent “youth-led” groups across all sectors, inclusive of political youth organizations in its aim to attain absolute balance in its representation and input towards the spiritual, social, political, environmental and economic health of St. Lucia.
The NYC has commenced initial engagements with these sectoral leaders in an attempt to spark that fertile union of youth-led organizations which will effectively stand as a template to its sister National Youth Organizations of the Caribbean and the Commonwealth at large.
On this trajectory; Nadege Jn Baptiste, president of the Micoud Youth and Sports Council, an active branch of the NYC, stated that the incumbent executive looks forward to a promising 2014 under the umbrella body, highlighting that “…The NYC continues to help craft the course of youth development on the island. The organization was instrumental in bolstering capacity building among the various youth groups through a series of administrative workshops. In addition, owing to effective collaboration the NYC has been able to improve visibility through well executed events around the island. As interdependence deepens and the youth become more aware and confident in the organization, the NYC will become even more significant in molding the path of youth Development in 2014.”
President of the Saint Lucia Labor Party Organization, Maundy Lewis, reiterated the need for a stronger youth movement, she also added “the Saint Lucia Labor Party Youth Organization (SLPYO) is cognizant of the work and representation of the NYC and would like to express our gratitude for their services. The year has been one of seized opportunities, failed attempts and at times reactionary measures. However, we are confident that a cadre of proactive and eclectic young people can and have always made the difference in society. It is necessary now, more than ever, that youth of all persuasions join together to address the many issues that confront us daily. The SLPYO is keen on the development of young people and will accept and create opportunities to contribute to the development of Youth and Saint Lucia.”
According to Kerwin Stuart, President of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the West Indies International (PAWI), “Partnering with the National Youth Council is part of a wider vision of the youth department PAWI. One famous quote says, “there is no place on the earth, no square inch that God does not say, mine! We believe that the God we serve is the God of all. The Bible is littered with scriptures that suggest we have a pertinent role in the holistic development of our nation’s youth. We December, the NYC held its final General Council meeting in the southern therefore look forward to partnering with the National Youth Council as we equip and empower the Locally, as early as 2011, the NYC joined forces as a founding member of the Youth Advocacy Alliance (SLYAA)- an alliance of all youth serving organizations and institutions such as CARE, RISE, NSDC, SLYBT, St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Junior Achievement Programme and many other organizations who have joined along the way.”
This organization serves as a public statement of the ultimate resolve of youth serving agencies to combine efforts for the greater good of national youth development and resource efficiency. Its official launch is also earmarked for 2014. On the regional stage, NYC- St. Lucia was host to the 3rd the Pastoral Centre from 4-6th with the Chairperson being our very own NYC President, Timothy Ferdinand. The newly formed Caribbean Regional Youth Council (CRYC) is slated to establish its secretariat here in St. Lucia in joint commission with the St. Lucia National Youth Council. It is expected that this new secretariat will provide employment for at least two young professionals or more once funding sources have been confirmed.
The CRYC Chairman highlighted that NYCs of the Caribbean, though run primarily through volunteerism, continue to stand in need of financial and technical support and therefore, the CRYC invites opportunities for partnership with the private and public sector in delivering its mandate successfully throughout the coming years and contributing to what will stand in history as the largest youth network globally.
The NYC therefore looks forward to a productive and impactful 2014. One that is partnership oriented, well supported by youth the private sector and government, and one that affords our nation’s leaders the benefit of the views, opinions, talents and energies of youth for national December. The conference elected a six member regional executive.
Going forward the St. Lucia National Youth Council would like to thank the youth and people of Saint Lucia for all their support throughout 2013. The council also gives special mention to the following organizations and businesses that have supported financially and technically throughout the year namely,
– Private Sector: LUCELEC , Consolidated Foods Ltd, LIME, Sunfresh Ltd, Bank of St. Lucia Ltd, Renwick & Co. Ltd.
– Government Ministries: Youth Development & Sports; Commerce, Business Development and Consumer Affairs; Tourism, Heritage and Creative Industries; Education, HRD and Labor, Public Service, Sustainable Development , Energy, Science and Technology; and Office of the Prime Minister,
– National Commission for UNESCO
– United States Peace Corps
– United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
– Local Media Houses
To all who have in one way or another supported us, we thank you and wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!