Radio Cayman journalist Andrel Harris and youth worker Camille Angel have been chosen to represent their country as part of the CARICOM Youth Ambassadors Program.
The program, involving 20 countries in the Caribbean region, aims to put youth issues on the agenda of regional policymakers and help young people become more involved in regional politics.
The duo will attend a regional conference in Guyana next month to meet the region’s other youth ambassadors and learn about their roles.
Minister of Youth Services Osbourne Bodden said the appointments, which followed an extensive interview process, were well earned and represented a chance for Ms. Angel and Mr. Harris to become “change agents” in the community.
As well as representing Cayman in regional forums, they will be tasked with organizing programs and events locally and advocating for the needs of young people. Ms. Angel, 26, a youth empowerment officer in government’s Youth Services Unit, said she was grateful for the opportunity.
“We both feel very passionately about serving the youth in this community and being able to lift up their voices. It is not so important, what we have to say, if we can’t lift up what they have to say,” she said.
Mr. Harris and Ms. Angel were presented with gifts by outgoing ambassadors James Geary and Takiyah Smith and received the official pin of the office from Minister Bodden and his chief officer Dorine Whittaker at a ceremony at the Government Administration Building Wednesday.
Mr. Harris, 25, said, “I am deeply honored and humbled by the selection and I hope that Ambassador Angel and I can build on the successes that have come before and make the islands and the youth of Cayman proud.”
Mr. Geary, a musician and a behavior support worker for schoolchildren, said the experience of being an ambassador to CARICOM for the past two years had been enlightening.
He said he had learned a lot about the organization and how it works, as well as some of the issues affecting the region.
One of the local initiatives that came out of his involvement with the program was a resume writing workshop he has organized for young people in Cayman.
He is also a member of the board of Youth ACT, a nonprofit which aims to address the underlying issues leading to youth crime.
Ms. Smith, who was involved with the Youth Flex radio show before becoming a CARICOM youth ambassador, said she learned a lot about the issues affecting youth across the Caribbean, including gun crime, teen pregnancy and employment concerns.
She said she also became more involved in gender issues and was now looking to set up a program in Cayman for empowering young girls.