The United States Government and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) have joined forces in an effort to provide better opportunities for St Lucia’s youth.
The two entities formalised their commitment to this collaboration, signing a Letter of Agreement that reaffirms their joint partnership with the Government of Saint Lucia on comprehensive violence prevention projects being funded by both institutions.
During a brief ceremony held at CDB’s Barbados-based headquarters, Acting Mission Director, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Eastern and Southern Caribbean, Julia Henn, signed the agreement on behalf of the United States Government, while CDB Vice-President (Operations), Monica La Bennett, did so on behalf of CDB.
Addressing the signing ceremony, La Bennett said, “The [Youth Empowerment] Project is intended to enhance the capacity of the Government of Saint Lucia and its implementing and participating agencies to deliver results-based youth empowerment responses to build the resilience and improve the life chances of vulnerable children, youth and their families. In this regard, CDB is pleased to partner with USAID to support the Government of Saint Lucia in addressing the complex citizen security challenges facing the country. CDB welcomes this partnership as we recognise that Saint Lucia’s development can only be enhanced through collaboration with partners such as USAID.”
Chargé d’Affaires of the US Embassy, Joaquin Monserrate, who witnessed the Agreement, told the gathering, “The US Government is deeply committed to this region as evidenced by our various youth, juvenile justice, health, and environment programs that benefit at-risk youth and citizens at large. The challenges that the region faces cannot be solved by one agency and I’m pleased that the USG and the CDB are joining forces to use collective resources and ideas to support the region’s greatest asset – its youth.” Noting that the YES Project strengthens youth, family, and community support systems in St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis and Guyana to improve the skills of at-risk youth and create alternatives to involvement in violence, he added, “Since 2016 the Project has engaged over 4,000 youth in positive youth development programs resulting in job creation and reducing risks for involvement in crime across the three countries.”
Permanent Secretary in Saint Lucia’s Ministry of Equity, Velda Joseph, who is signatory to the Agreement on behalf of the St. Lucia Government, participated via teleconference. She thanked USAID and CDB for their “bold step in fostering collaboration,” noting that “significant benefits can be derived from creating synergies.” In this regard, Joseph maintained that “the merits of collaboration and working together are widely accepted and understood.”