The Trinidad Youth Council joins the global community in the celebration of International Youth Day. This year’s theme is “Safe Spaces for Youth”. A safe space can be defined as a place or environment in which a person or category of people can feel confident that they will not be exposed to discrimination, criticism, harassment, or any other emotional or physical harm. These spaces can be categorized in four main areas civic spaces, public space, digital spaces and well planned physical spaces.
One space that we think needs serious reevaluation in Trinidad and Tobago is civic spaces. Safe spaces such as civic spaces enable youth to engage in governance issues and it also allows young people an opportunity to speak truth to power. By having young people play an active role in governance we are able to have more effective results in of policies and initiatives in the short team and greater youth participation and more active citizens in the long term.
Trinidad Youth Council would like to take this opportunity to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters of the Tobago youth Council and join the chorus of voices to ask the Tobago House of Assembly to offer an explanation as to why they made a decision override an executive decision made by the TYC Executive in selecting its President Mrs Latoya Roberts-Thomas to represent the Council at a study tour in the United Kingdom towards the implementation of a Youth Parliament in Tobago in September. Youth Councils are non-partisan, autonomous organisation and we demand to be treated as such.
Youth empowerment is often used as a tokenistic phrase society and popular culture. However, with the right investment of time, money and goodwill, young people can become powerful agents of change and active citizens. We all must work together to ensure there are spaces young people are and feel safe and their dignity is respected.