President of the Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions (CCCU) Hally Haynes says young people must be given genuine opportunities to inform policy within the region.
Addressing a youth conference at the opening of the 61st Annual International Convention of the CCCU at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Port-of-Spain, Haynes said for too long lip service has been paid to the idea of giving young people more say in charting their destiny.
“We recognise if we have to build the capacity of the credit union movement today and tomorrow that at the forefront of that drive must be the young people of the Caribbean,” he said.
“It is important that we just don’t talk about it. We give lip service to young people but they must be the centre of the development.
“If we are going to confront the many challenges that confront the countries in the region, first and foremost is the issue of development.
“They have to be given a real chance and a real opportunity to be at the table to inform policy on what are their challenges and what are their views.”
Haynes argued if such opportunities were in place, the Caribbean would be a better place.
A Barbadian, Haynes was elected CCCU president after the union’s annual general meeting in Cuba in June 2017.
Agreeing with Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste-Primus that young people were critical to the region’s development, Haynes stated: “Your voice must be heard and you as young people, also must make sure that your voice is heard.”
He added: “You have an awesome responsibility to your peers, your parents, to your friends, your colleagues and nation to put your hands up in the air and say I am ready to take over the leadership of Trinidad and Tobago.
“I am ready to take over the leadership of the Caribbean region. I am ready to take over the leadership of the world.”