New CARICOM Youth Ambassadors Welcomed
The Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports, Agriculture and Lands (MEYSAL) and The Youth Services Unit (YSU) have formally welcomed Jorel Bellafonte and Zoe Conolly-Basdeo as the newly appointed CARICOM Youth Ambassadors for the Cayman Islands.
The CARICOM Youth Ambassador Programme (CYAP) was established in 1993 with two Youth Ambassadors appointed annually from each of the 20 CARICOM Member and Associate States. The CYAP acts as the regional network of Caribbean young people and provides a platform for youth participation in CARICOM decision making.
The Minister for Youth, Honourable Juliana O’Connor-Connolly hosted the customary presentation of the official ceremonial garb to the new ambassadors. Also present for the proceedings were MEYSAL Deputy Chief Officer responsible for Youth, Joel Francis, Acting Head of the Youth Services Unit, James Myles and outgoing CARICOM Youth Ambassadors Tavis Walters and Shantelle Young.
Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly also used the opportunity to congratulate both ambassadors and to underscore the importance of the Youth Ambassador programme. “Although the Cayman Islands are associate members of CARICOM, it is important that our youth have a place around the table at CARICOM youth forums so that we can hear the challenges and be a part of the solutions to issues around the Caribbean,” expressed Minister O’Connor-Connolly.
The newly appointed Youth Ambassadors both expressed their joy at being selected to represent the Cayman Islands at CARICOM.
“I am truly excited for the opportunity to serve my community on a national level; to embody the values of CARICOM and the Cayman Islands and to converse with other Youth Ambassadors from different regions on important issues,” said Zoe Conolly-Basdeo.
While also expressing his joy at being selected as a CARICOM Youth Ambassador Jorel Bellafonte highlighted the significance of the role. “Youth Ambassadors form the bridge between youth and young adults within the Cayman Islands. As national representatives, we have the opportunity to interact with other national representatives within CARICOM to voice our opinions as well as those of other youth in the Cayman Islands, ” expressed Jorel Bellafonte.
Other duties of CARICOM Youth Ambassadors include participating in local youth projects as well as engaging young people and the wider community.
Caymanians between the ages of 18 to 27 years old and who are interested in participating in the programme should contact local organising body, the Youth Services Unit. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed by a panel consisting of members of the Youth Services Unit and past CARICOM Youth Ambassadors.