(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) United, cohesive, productive, enabling, progressive!
That’s the kind of Community in which youth of the Region wish to live.
Caribbean Community (CARICOM) youths took to the twittersphere on Sunday to share their views on the Community and their role in cementing regional integration.
In the first CARICOM Twitter Relay held by the CARICOM Youth Ambassador Programme (CYAP) in observance of the 40th anniversary of CARICOM, the youths began a twitter relay mid-morning and continued until 7 pm.
Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, CARICOM Secretary-General, who is in Trinidad and Tobago ahead of the Thirty-Fourth Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government, joined the relay that attracted participation from 12 CARICOM Member States. Youths from Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago – and two Associate Members, Anguilla and Turks and Caicos, were among the participants. There was participation also from the United Kingdom and the United States.
The event’s total reach was 8 613 persons, while the estimated level of exposure was in the vicinity of 74 000 persons. According to preliminary statistics, 61 per cent of the participants interacted via the web, while a significant number of persons – 27 per cent – interacted via the use of their Blackberry devices. Seven per cent interacted via TweetDeck while three per cent were using an Apple-based device such as the iPhone, or ipad.
According to the youth who participated in the relay, the next 40 years should be a time for “implementation” and “sustained action”, where “each word and every action” from political leaders lend themselves to an “awakening” of the talents of young people. The future must also be a time of creating and promoting opportunities for young people, an era in which Caribbean people feel more connected to the regional thrust and have a firm understanding of their role in the creation of a viable, unified entity, Caribbean young people said.
Under theme-based legs of the relay, the youths zeroed in on the “utmost importance” of integration given the small size of Member States and the vulnerabilities to which they are exposed. They tackled critical issues such as education and economic empowerment, transportation, free movement, health and wellness, culture, religion, active participation of youth in building the Community, the implementation deficit, climate change, collaboration among the private sectors of Member States, and the creation of competitive advantage in the global arena.
The CARICOM Youth Ambassador programme aims to educate young people about and encourage their participation in regional integration and development and advise policymakers on formulating development policies and programmes which address youth needs and concerns.