The Caribbean Youth Summit hosted in Kingston, Jamaica in November 2023, was attended by a contingent of youth representing the Cayman Islands. Aimed at uniting youth and stakeholders, the Summit provided an opportunity to develop partnerships, share ideas, establish best practices, and propose sustainable solutions; focused on addressing gender-based and family-based violence, community violence, and sexual/reproductive health, along with mental health practices.
CARICOM Youth Ambassadors for the Cayman Islands: Ms. Vanessa Burke and Mr. Chad Powell, along with Proud of Them Alumna Tashell Dawson; shared their insights on behalf of youth in Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac.
The Summit provided a uniquely collaborative opportunity for the Cayman delegation to build their awareness and understanding of rights and responsibilities that can empower Caribbean jurisdictions to cope with and address these persistent challenges and risk factors.
Reflecting on the impact of gender-based violence (GBV), CYA Burke noted: "This Summit was a transformative experience, especially for exploring the complexities surrounding GBV and potential solutions to effect real change. That change starts with us."
The Summit which aligned with a variety of iniatives; including the the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the Caribbean Development Bank Youth Policy, the Spotlight Initiative, the CARICOM Youth Development Goals, and the UNFPA Youth Strategy; offered valuable insight to its delegates.
Proud of Them Alumna Tashell Dawson surmised: "Participating in this Summit has provided a platform for engaging discussions, breaking barriers, and establishing connections with fellow youth leaders from across the Caribbean. The theme, of 'Co-Creating a Peaceful and Sustainable Caribbean Community against Gender-Based Violence,' resonated deeply with us. There were many vital conversations surrounding gender-based and community violence, amongst other topics. This knowledge can be applied, along with the experiences gained at the Summit; to contribute positively to our community."
Senior Policy Analyst Ms. Tunisia Barnes of the Ministry of Youth, Sports & Heritage, and CARICOM Youth Ambassadors for the Cayman Islands: Ms. Vanessa Burke and Mr. Chad Powell, along with Proud of Them Alumna Tashell Dawson; comprised the Cayman Islands Delegation at the Caribbean Youth Summit 2023.