JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Ministry of Youth and Culture’s Jamaica Youth Ambassadors Programme (JaYAP) has been revamped to facilitate greater participation by young persons in the decision making process.
  • Based on a thorough evaluation of the previous programme as well as recommendations provided by former ambassadors, the revised programme will empower the youth ambassadors to accomplish more during their tenure.
  • Outlining the programme’s new format, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth and Culture, Sherrill O’Reggio Angus, said a number of the portfolio areas were removed, thereby condensing 18 areas into what are now three Youth Ambassador portfolios.

The Ministry of Youth and Culture’s Jamaica Youth Ambassadors Programme (JaYAP) has been revamped to facilitate greater participation by young persons in the decision making process.

Based on a thorough evaluation of the previous programme as well as recommendations provided by former ambassadors, the revised programme will empower the youth ambassadors to accomplish more during their tenure.

Outlining the programme’s new format, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth and Culture, Sherrill O’Reggio Angus, said a number of the portfolio areas were removed, thereby condensing 18 areas into what are now three Youth Ambassador portfolios.

She was speaking at the installation of  six Youth Ambassadors during an induction ceremony, held at King’s House, in Kingston, on May 7. The young persons have been appointed to serve for the 2015-2017 period in three key areas – CARICOM, the Commonwealth and the United Nations General Assembly.

In their role as Youth Ambassadors, their responsibilities include promoting and advocating action on the post 2015 development agenda. They should seek to bring national issues to the attention of policy makers and planners at the regional and international levels. This is to be achieved through the coordination and collation of data relating to youth issues at the national level.

The Permanent Secretary pointed out that the Youth Ambassadors programme has been successful, “particularly through policy and programme recommendations for key youth development challenges and issues, such as youth unemployment and entrepreneurship.”

Mrs. Angus said that the United Nations General Assembly presents an opportunity for Jamaican youth to have a voice at one of the highest levels of decision making in the world. She further notes that attendance at the General Assembly affords the opportunity for Jamaican youth to actively shape the development of international frameworks for action.

The Youth Ambassadors will also play a key role in the organizational activities to commemorate International Youth Day and Global Youth Service Day.

“We know well the dedication that is necessary to successfully make strides in youth development and we believe that this renewed youth development programme will move forward with refreshed vigour,” the Permanent Secretary said.

For her part, Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, congratulated the Youth Ambassadors and encouraged them to be an example to other youth.

“Your development is our mission and our mission is (helping you) to succeed in this ever changing world that you will have to go out and be sustained in and become involved,  so other youth will see Jamaica and see your example as a fitting representation to want to live, work do business and  of course raise families,” she  said.

“This programme is another example of how the Ministry of Youth and Culture is connecting. It is a very important programme to us, because you are taking examples of the country not only internationally but also to the communities,” the Minister added.

Meanwhile, Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, said that the Jamaica Youth Ambassadors Programme merits national endorsement, as it is firmly rooted in a commitment to foster youth participation and empowerment.

“I believe that they will contribute to building a better Jamaica. You have a wonderful opportunity to assist in a direct way in that process. You have been selected to advocate and articulate the interests of youth on issues. You must be well informed if you are to be effective representatives in these three inter-governmental forums,” he said.

Commenting on the recently tabled Green Paper on the National Youth Policy,  newly appointed Youth Ambassador for CARICOM, Terisa Thompson, said it  provide young people  with greater opportunities for employment and  representation and to contribute to  democracy and governance.

“We need young persons to be interested (in governance) overall in policies that will affect their overall development and having their voices heard on it, so that they feel that they are involved and that they are really being represented,” she said.

For his part,  another Youth Ambassador for CARICOM, Andre Marriott-Blake, said that for them to inspire the youth to be more involved in national development, the youth themselves must first cultivate the mindset that to be a Jamaican means that you are empowered.

Portfolio responsibilities for the Youth Ambassadors are:  CARICOM –  Terisa Thompson and Andre Marriott-Blake;  The Commonwealth – Sujae Boswell and Tijani Christian; and United Nations General Assembly –  Rochelle Reid- James and Jamar Howell.