Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS): At a recent sitting of National Assembly (June 14), Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Youth, Honourable Shawn Richards, said that the Draft Federal Youth Policy presents guidelines that will no doubt combat crime and also aid in national development.

"When you look at the Draft Federal Youth Policy, we recognize that there are a number of issues which must be addressed pertaining to young persons not only to help with the crime situation, but with regards to the overall development and participation of young persons in the development of the federation."

The draft policy speaks to economic participation. This, said Minister Richards, is important because the government is encouraging young persons to become entrepreneurs. It also speaks to safety, security and protection, as the government recognizes that there is an issue with crime.

"So, this particular piece of legislation is only one facet in terms of what we are doing to deal with the crime situation in the federation.

Minister Richards said that education and lifelong learning are part of the reason for the situation. Therefore, said the minister, the government has recognized that there is a problem with the education system.  

The minister said that the policy also speaks to "health and well being, youth as agents of democracy development and nation building, youth and sustainable development, youth development work and youth mainstreaming, and of course you have a number of crosscutting themes and concepts."

"To accompany this, Mr. Speaker, of course you would have the relevant strategy to ensure that what is enshrined in the youth policy actually comes to reality," he said.  

During the final public consultation on the Draft Federal Youth Policy, on March 28 at the St. Kitts Marriot Resort, Minister Richards said that he deems the policy to be "extremely important in guiding youth work here in St. Kitts and Nevis, not just for the current generation of young persons but for future generations of young persons."

He added, at the consultation on the draft policy, that "this policy intends to aid young people to traverse the waters from a dependent child to an independent adult by both legislation, as well as by targeting youth empowerment programmes. Hence, the importance of the policy is that it empowers young people to maximize their potential for the good of themselves and to the benefit of the country."

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