At the launch, The UWI-YDP's Ad hoc Working Committee was represented by three young activists, Chairman, Mr. Michael Joseph; Deputy Chairman, Mr. Kevin Manning and Mr. Damani Parris, Secretary. Citing startling figures on youth crime and underdevelopment in the Caribbean, the Committee expressed hope for collaboration with representatives from state agencies, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the United Nations (UN), the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC) and the IADB, who were present at the launch, to improve the lives of young people in the region.
The UWI Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, in delivering the feature address, pointed to the movement of engaged and alert young people gaining ground throughout the world—the Black Lives Matter movement being one of the most notable, initiated by young women in the United States.
Vice-Chancellor Beckles challenged the audience to consider that, “There is no movement of youth political engagement that can be identified with clear and specific objectives for change and transformation [in the Caribbean]. This has to concern all of us who are educators..."
The UWI owns its responsibility to the next generation and intends to take up the challenge to provide youth with the keys to their own future. Following the launch, the programme coordinators began gathering data to inform The UWI-YDP’s agenda and to produce an up-to-date ‘Status of the Youth Report’, based on which The UWI-YDP will announce its first projects. These projects will focus on people aged 16-35 years and empower Caribbean youth to become healthy, active and empowered citizens, both within the region and internationally.