JIS News

A study of Caribbean youths have found many to be unhappy about their life in the region, with some feeling shunned, expecting to be deceased, in prison, or living abroad within five years.
This was revealed by Co-chairman of the two-year-old, CARICOM Commission on Youth Development (CCYD), Professor Barry Chavannes, at a ‘JIS Think Tank’ session yesterday (January 19).
Cautioning that the data set may not be representative, Dr. Chavannes said much of the humiliation was felt by Haitians living in the Turks and Caicos islands. He shared further, that when the youths in Belize, Haiti, St. Kitts, and Barbados were asked where they would be in five years time, they replied, “dead or in prison”, with many expected to be living elsewhere as they see no viable future in the Caribbean.
The study was commissioned by the CCYD and conducted by youths in the region using youth focal points and the CARICOM Youth Ambassador Corps in each country, as well as research on governance structures, such as youth clubs, youth councils, youth departments; youth vision and aspirations; vulnerability of young persons to crime and HIV/Aids; and values.
The CCYD was established two years ago to provide a comprehensive analysis of challenges and opportunities for youth in the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and to make recommendations on how to improve their well-being and empowerment.
“The Commission was set up because the (CARICOM) Heads were really concerned that youths in the region were not buying in the CSME, it appeared, so they wanted to know what’s going on,” Professor Chavannes informed, noting that “this to me earmarked as the single most important way to move the region towards integration”.
The findings of the study were discussed with stakeholders at the fourth meeting of the Commission held in Jamaica recently, with the view to validating the research conclusions, making recommendations and fine-tuning a plan of action for the way forward. This report is to be presented to the 30th Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government slated for July 2009.