Jamaica to head Commonwealth Youth Council as elections get under way

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

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JAMAICA is set to chair the next Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC) when elections are held tomorrow at the Commonwealth Youth Forum (CYF) in London, England.

Four Jamaicans are contesting the elections to fill three of the positions on the council's executive, a release from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information said yesterday. The two final candidates for the post of chairperson — Sophia Bryan and Tijani Christian — are Jamaicans.

The other Jamaicans contesting posts on the 2018-2020 CYC executive are Everton Rattray (vice chairperson-Partnership and Resources) and Michelle Thomas (representative - Special Interest Groups).

All four candidates, the release said, currently serve or have previously served on national youth leadership bodies supported by the ministry.

The ministry said the Commonwealth Youth Council was established in 2013 with the support of the Commonwealth Secretariat's Commonwealth Youth Programme and endorsed by Commonwealth Heads of Government at that year's summit in Sri Lanka as an “autonomous, youth-led organisation” to advocate on behalf of over two billion young people in the Commonwealth.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information Floyd Green last week attended the first Commonwealth Youth Ministerial Task Force Meeting in London, a precursor to the Commonwealth Youth Forum in which a number of Jamaican young people are participating as delegates and attendees. The biennial CYF has been taking place prior to Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings (CHOGM) since 1998, the release said.

The CYF, the release said, serves as an avenue to review and validate decisions taken in previous two years on all the youth priorities. Each of the youth meetings in the run up to CYF contribute, inform and shape the forum, which then informs and shapes the succeeding youth meetings.

Led by a nine-member executive serving a two-year term, the CYC acts as a coalition of national youth councils and other youth-led civil society and private sector bodies from across the 53 member countries of the Commonwealth.

The highest decision-making body for the CYC is the General Assembly and is made up of national youth delegates representing National Youth Councils from each member state and youth-led organisations.

The CYC represents young people in international decision-making processes, including CHOGM, at the UN and with national governments.

The final selection of 24 candidates for nine executive positions was made by the returning officer of the CYC and an electoral board representing each region of the Commonwealth after the candidates were assessed on the qualifying criteria. The shortlist of 24 candidates was announced by the CYC and its partner, the Commonwealth Secretariat on their election website.

Applicants were required to submit a manifesto, personal profile and other documentation, and they needed to be endorsed by a National Youth Council or Regional Youth Council, a national or regional youth-led organisation, or a registered and recognised international youth-led organisation.

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