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Youth Vision for the 21st Century

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Contact: Richmond Felix

October 27, 1998 - After coming together for three weeks in the Bahamas and Barbados, representatives of Caribbean Youth have come up with a Vision for the region in the 21st Century, four parliamentary resolutions, and a Declaration and Regional Action Plan on Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights.

The three week Caribbean Youth Explosion, which came to an end earlier this month, saw the participation of more than 100 youth between the ages of 15 and 26, from 18 Caribbean States and Canada. The activity comprised three events organized by the CARICOM Secretariat, the Commonwealth Youth Program and the United Nations Population Fund.

St. Lucia was represented at the Youth Exchange and Youth Parliament, which took place in the Bahamas, by Saturinus Victorine, Euralise Delaire, Darren Mathurin and Josephine Greg. The Youth Vision for the 21st Century was molded out of the Caribbean Youth Exchange, which focuses on healthy lifestyles and encourages the positive use of both mental and physical energies. It is set within the theme, "Different Countries, Different Cultures, One Region, One Understanding among all segments of the Community, One Voice."

Director of Youth and Sports - Armstrong Alexis said, "The young people of the region were of the opinion that there needs to be greater emphasis placed on youth development with a deliberate effort at funding youth activities." According to Mr. Alexis the youth were of the opinion that an insufficient amount of resources was being put to various aspects of youth development.

Some of the resolutions dealt with issues such as access to education, the removal of gender biases in areas of development and education, cultural development in the sub region and cultural exchanges, which could give the Caribbean youth better opportunities to understand what is happening in other countries.

The young people also said that it was imperative that they are guaranteed equal rights, active and responsible participation as they enter the new millennium.

The Caribbean Youth Summit on Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights was held in Barbados. Representing the island at the summit were Andrea Cherubin and Newton Seon. The event concluded with a declaration that stated that adolescents and young persons should have access commensurate with their level of physiological and psychological development, to proper information and education on their rights and responsibilities concerning fertility regulation, health development and life threatening risks of early and unprotected sexual behavior, and responsibilities for self as well as for their partners.

They Youth ended the activities with a call for more fora such as those provided by the Youth Explosion, to give young people the right to make decisions and take appropriate action, with the partnership of and guidance from their parents, the religious community, governments, health and education sectors.

 

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