History was made at the 3rd Caribbean Youth Leaders Summit held from December 4-6, 2013, in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia as the first ever executive of the newly constituted Caribbean Regional Youth Council (CRYC) was elected.
Continuing the work that began at the previous summits in Barbados (2011) and Jamaica (2012), youth leaders took concerted steps towards strengthening their national youth organisations and charting a path towards a regional youth governance mechanism. The revision and discussion of the progress and outputs of the previous summits culminated in the creation of the CRYC and the signing and unanimous ratification of its constitution. The final day was reserved for a Stakeholders’ Forum which saw the inclusion of key stakeholders: CUSO International, the Commonwealth Youth Programme, and the United Nations Development Programme. Tangible support was garnered for the work and sustainability of the CRYC. Youth leaders from the UNDP Youth Think Tank, the CARICOM Youth Ambassadors Corps and the Commonwealth Youth Council also participated and lent their voice to the deliberations.
Through a process which was conducted by officers from the Electoral Department of St Lucia, the 12 Official Caribbean Delegates cast their vote by secret ballot, to elect the first Executive of the CRYC: Mr. Timothy Ferdinand- Chairperson (St. Lucia National Youth Council), Ms. Tiffany Daniels – Vice Chairperson for Membership and Partnerships (Guyana National Youth Council, Interim), Ms. Shanice Webb – Vice Chairperson for Resource Mobilisation (Trinidad Youth Council), Michael Xavier- Vice Chairperson for Advocacy and Policy (Guyana National Youth Council, Interim), Ms. Farmala Jacobs- Board Member for Training and Development (Antigua National Youth Ambassador Corps) and Ms. Nadege Roach- Board Member for Communications and Information (National Youth Council of Dominica).
Words of encouragement were offered to the newly elected Executive by one of the CRYC’s chief architects and Programme Manager at the Commonwealth Youth Programme Caribbean Centre, Ms. Dwynette Eversley. Ms.Eversley urged the new executive to continue justifying the investment made in them by committing themselves to building a strong regional youth network which was inclusive, representative and addressed issues related to all Caribbean youth. These sentiments were echoed by the outgoing Chairman of the Interim Steering Committee, Mr. Jason Francis who reminded the delegates of the critical role they play in improving the quality of life for youth across the Caribbean. In his first official address, Chairperson Mr. Timothy Ferdinand expressed his gratitude to all of the youth delegates and organisations present and pledged to make the necessary commitments and sacrifices to see the CRYC become a successful pan-Caribbean organisation.
The Summit would not have been possible without the instrumental support and continued guidance of the Commonwealth Youth Programme Caribbean Centre. Tremendous support was also received from the Government of St. Lucia through its Ministry of Youth Development and Sports and office of the Prime Minister, particularly for hosting the event. The Saint Lucia National Youth Council must also be commended for their hard work in ensuring the success of the Summit. Lastly, for ensuring a transparent and democratic electoral process, the Electoral Department of St. Lucia must be praised.
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