Dr. Terri-Ann Gilbert-Roberts, a research fellow at the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies and former Caribbean Community (Caricom) youth ambassador, has said young people throughout the region need to play a vital role in sustaining the 15-state regional bloc and that their presence is critical to revitalizing it.
Speaking about the general displeasure the region's youth have with Caricom's lack of transparency, she said, “People don't know exactly what decisions are being taken and they don't know what are the factors that have influenced the lack of implementation of certain things."
Gilberto-Roberts said youth ambassadors, and young people, in general, must be empowered with the information needed to advocate for policies proposed and implemented by the regional bloc, according to The Gleaner.
Reflecting on Caricom's performance in the lead up to this week's Heads of Government Summit in Montego Bay, St James, the Jamaican academic, whose research interests involve the intersection of governance, regionalism, and youth development, encouraged young people to lobby in favor of developing regional freedom of information protocol.
Bruce Golding, head of Caricom Review Commission and former Jamaican Prime Minister, said the regional bloc experienced issues in accessing financial information regarding Caricom and its agencies, as well as the secretariat, told them to exclude the data from its report.
Faced with this lack of transparency, Gilbert-Roberts said "older persons have also been in the movement and are themselves becoming frustrated with the lack of implementation (of transparency mechanisms). Maybe (they) will be more likely to give up on it (Caricom) and say, 'You know what, let's just leave.' Where are the informed voices of young people who might say, 'Actually we agree with you, Caricom is not working, but we want regional integration, but our notion of integration is a broader pan-Caribbean vision of integration'?”