Minister for Education and Culture, Hon. Myron Walwyn is still very keen to see the completion of the Youth Policy and announced on Monday 17 March that the finalization of the document is part of Government’s investment in the Territory’s youths.
Hon. Walwyn told the gathering: “Our investments in youth development include the finalization of our Youth Policy. We anticipate having the policy completed and before the end of the year, have our National Youth Council, which makes provision for a Youth Parliament. It will be an opportunity for our young people to have a voice in the development of this Territory.”
In October 2012 ten youths were introduced as part of the Committee that was charged with putting together the national Youth Policy for the Virgin Islands. At that time the Minister for Education and Culture explained the importance of the initiative, and stated that since the dawn of the 1990s most Caribbean countries and territories developed working youth policies that provide a framework for governments to reference when planning. To this end, he explained that the BVI is some 16 years behind.
“The Virgin Islands today must rise to the challenge of also developing a national youth policy with the input of young persons on all of our islands, which can be accepted by Cabinet and brought to our House of Assembly,” the Minister said.
According to Hon. Walwyn persons under the age of 31 arguably make up the largest population grouping in the Virgin Islands, and a youth policy would set forth a plan for the development and inclusion of this group in the strategic planning of the Territory.
He explained that this is not the first time such an initiative was being undertaken, and stated that 16 years ago efforts were made to create such a policy. However, Hon. Walwyn explained that the document “got lost along the way.”
“Out of our national youth policy it is my anticipation that when we as Ministers and as a government take a decision we would have a solid document to reference, which gives us an understanding of what our young people want, but also serve as a constant reminder of what we should truly be working for,” Hon. Walwyn said.
At the October launch, Drusilla Fahie, Chair of the Youth Policy Committee said that the members have pledged their commitment to the task at hand and are prepared to go the extra mile to fulfill their requirements: “We are braced for long hours, for the agreements and disagreements, but more importantly we are poised and ready to work as a team to produce a policy that truly represents young people in the Virgin Islands and our aspirations to be included in the planning and development of our country,” Fahie said.
She disclosed that the Committee’s term of reference for the policy is that the completed document must be able to provide a vehicle that will ensure the participation of youth in the decision-making process, policy formation and political, social and economical aspects of the development of the Virgin Islands; and provide youth with leadership opportunities that will encourage personal growth.
The members of the Committee are: Fahie, Sharie de Castro, Melvin Mitch Turnbull, Theodore James, Bevin George, Lauren Welch (VG), Jessica Callwood (JVD), Xavyrna Samuels-Fahie, Sabrina Mathew and Coy Levons (Anegada).