(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) Haiti’s youth representatives attending the Regional Youth Forum in Paramaribo, Suriname, on Wednesday, were lauded for their “grim determination and resilience” by speakers at the opening ceremony of the Forum, which is funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
Leading the charge, His Excellency Runaldo Venetiaan, President of Suriname noted that the presence of Haitian youth leaders, Junior Mercier and Letitia Cadet, was indicative of their courage and tenacity – values on which the Community placed a high premium.
“Despite the plethora of challenges and now even now in your darkest hour, when you face the terror of nature’s rage, your, strength of character, your resilience and nobility of spirit stand out as a symbol of what the Caribbean Community can achieve.,” declared the Suriname President who holds lead responsibility for Youth, Sports, Culture and Gender Development in the quasi Cabinet of the Conference of the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community.
President Venetian added that the Regional Youth Forum was a sterling example of the kind of collaboration and partnership that was “absolutely necessary to advance the youth development agenda and by extension the integration movement.”
In his Remarks, CARICOM Secretary-General His Excellency Edwin Carrington noted that young people from Haiti were present because of their grim determination and perseverance and noted that not only were those qualities revered by the Community but that they represented “true values for the development of our Youth in the Community.”
A minute of silence was then observed for all Haitian youth and others who died in the recent earthquake, which devastated Port- Au – Prince on 12 January, just two weeks prior to the Regional Youth Forum, which forms part of a slate of youth related activities organized in Suriname to discuss the Report of the Situation of Caribbean Youth. This Report reflects approximately three years of research conducted by the CARICOM Commission of Youth Development.
Following the one-day Forum, the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) on Thursday will bring together all its relevant Ministers in a meeting with youth leaders from across the region to discuss the findings and recommendations in the report. On Friday, CARICOM Heads of Government who at their 27th Meeting had given the mandate to the Commission will receive the Report at a two-day Summit.