Thu | Feb 27, 2020

Regional youth body calls for better funding for national councils

Published:Friday | January 24, 2020 | 2:40 PM
Roshanna Trim - Contributed photo

Nickoy Wilson, Gleaner Writer

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad:

Roshanna Trim, the newly-elected chairperson for the Caribbean Regional Youth Council is calling for governments across the region to provide better funding to their respective national youth councils.

Trim, who was elected on Wednesday, said that the councils are struggling to operate effectively because of a lack of adequate support.

“To be honest, it is 2020, it is the start of a new decade and governments need to, and I strongly believe that governments need to put their monies where their mouths are. We are not asking for the world, we are not asking for you to create a whole new ministry, we are asking that you support young people as much as you claim that you will,” Trim said at the 6th biennial Caribbean Youth Leadership Summit in Trinidad and Tobago.

She told The Gleaner in an interview that chronic underfunding is negatively impacting the operations of youth councils.

“But then you’ll hear governments saying that young people need to be involved, we need to volunteer, we need to do the programmes. We can’t do it without funds and without resources and it’s not saying that we expect that the government will hand us the funds, we do not expect that they will give us everything, but if you recognise how important it is to have young people at the table, to have young people interacting with young people, to have youth movements led by youth for youth, then it really requires that you invest in us, to take on the roles that you are asking us,” she said.

The 24-year-old, who previously served as prime minister in the Barbados Youth Parliament until 2017, said that only three countries – Barbados, St Lucia and Anguilla – have thus far made legislative or budgetary decisions to fund national youth councils.

Despite the lack of funding, Trim does not believe that this is indicative of governments’ position on youth involvement.

“No, I don’t think any government in the Caribbean does not recognise how important it is to have youth at the table and how to have youth involved. I think that the lack of funding is sometimes that there are so many things happening and we find ourselves at a place where we have to choose, and sometimes youth and youth-led initiatives are put on the back burner and I mean grassroots youth-led initiatives, organic movements,” she said.

The three-day summit ended on Thursday.

Meanwhile, other members of the council include Jamaica’s Jerome Palmer who has responsibility for training and development, St Lucia’s Anya Edwin for resource mobilisation, Antigua and Barbuda’s Russhell Ellis for policy and advocacy, Anguilla’s Neil Gumbs for membership and partnerships and Trinidad’s Kendell Vincent for communication and information.

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