Respect And Understanding Conference Opens In St. Kitts

St. Kitts - Nevis' Youth Secretary - Osmond Petty

St. Kitts – Nevis’ Youth Secretary – Osmond Petty
Photo By Erasmus Williams

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
November 19, 2008 (SKNIS)

Approximately 45 delegates from 17 countries and organizations within the Commonwealth Caribbean Region will spend the next three days at the Royal St. Kitts Hotel, crafting an action plan to promote respect and understanding among Commonwealth citizens.

The November 19 to 21 conference is organized by the Commonwealth Youth Programme Caribbean Center in collaboration with the Department of Youth. Osmond Petty, the Permanent Secretary responsible for Youth Affairs gave an outline on the reasoning behind this meeting.

“The majority of our population are youth and so we need to encourage interaction on social issues. We need to strengthen ties and develop key linkages among youth,” he said. “We need to identify problems and find solutions to issues facing youth. We need to be able to provide a basis for a discussion on how to improve family relationships, to empower youth and ensure that our young people are not neglected.”

The Director of the Commonwealth Youth Programme, Henry Charles echoed Mr. Petty’s sentiments. He highlighted some of the challenges facing many countries around the world and questioned the traditional approach in tackling these issues.

“The issue of youth development is not main stream. Persons sit down to discuss the repositioning of the tourism industry, and financial services. We are in a search for answers and solutions to the current global economic crisis,” Mr. Charles stressed. “Are we engaging young people to find out whether they have such strategies? They may have fresh approaches and fresh ideas that can lead us forward but we are not engaging them. We have a few “˜know it alls’ that just come up and pontificate this is the way to go. It’s the same old thing every time.”

The Commonwealth official indicated that this situation and others in a similar contest must be framed in the respect and understanding discussion.

That view is supported strongly by the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis as expounded by the Director of Youth, Geoffrey Hanley who delivered remarks on behalf of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Youth Honourable Sam Condor.

“We are all partners in the struggle to see the world transformed into a more peaceful and harmonious place,” he stated, noting that stakeholders engaged in the process must continue their efforts, while urging those who have yet acted to become involved. “The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis categorically stands with you and other Commonwealth Heads of Government in the universal quest to explore initiatives to promote mutual understanding and respect among all faith and communities in the Commonwealth.”

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