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Nov 5, 2019

University of West Indies Hosts Belize Country Conference 2019

A two-day conference focusing on youths is underway in Belize City. It is being hosted by the University of the West Indies. The discussions are taking on issues of gender and equality, youth security and mental health, critical areas that impact the young and vulnerable population. Here is Hipolito Novelo with the following story.


Hipolito Novelo, Reporting 

The University of the West Indies through its 2019 Belize Country Conference is stimulating discussion related to the topic area: “Youth and Security: Assessing Risks, Mitigating Vulnerabilities, and Improving Wellbeing.”


Sharmayne Saunders

Dr. Sharmayne Saunders, Acting Head, U.W.I. 

“The theme was selected by our local organizing committee and it had four broad areas and those areas focused on gender and equality, youth security, mental health and well being. But it is within those four broad themes under the overarching topic that our researchers were able to submit their papers for review. I would hope that our audience uses this opportunity, this platform to ensure that their voices are heard particularly of the topic that we have selected. It is a priority area and we need to focus on that.”


Agreeing with the acting head of UWI, Dr. Sharmayne Saunders was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, Patrick Faber. Faber told the gathered crowd that to create equal opportunities for the youth population, their risks and vulnerabilities they face must be recognized.


Patrick Faber

Patrick Faber, Deputy Prime Minister of Belize 

“Youth development in any format that you want to put it is the most important element n this Belizean society. Any of the issues that we are facing in this country can be fixed if we fix what is wrong in terms of the development of young people in this country. We are focusing citizen security and our young people growing up in this unstable environment, becoming more secure and we are looking at the risk, vulnerability and of we do this in an organized and focus way we could move leaps and bounds in terms where we want to take Belize.”


CARICOM Youth Ambassador Kris Miller underscored the importance of change how the public views the youth population.


Kris Miller

Kris Miller, CARICOM Youth Ambassador 

“Youth have been stigmatized, marginalized and largely treated as the protagonist of criminal violence. As the same time, youths are also viewed as vulnerable and helpless. Of lately one of the things we have been doing ad DYS and as CARICOM youth ambassador is changing the way in how we see youth in our country. We advocate that youth are partners in the development and not a problem that needs to be fixed.”


Belize City Mayor Bernard Wagner says that the Belize Country Conference provides the appropriate platform where focus is given to the risks and vulnerabilities of the youth population and the mitigation needed.


Bernard Wagner

Bernard Wagner, Belize City Mayor 

“Clearly the youth are a very challenged group. Many of the issues that are facing our youths with crime, not having enough educational opportunities, all of this transpiring in our city and urban areas. We need platforms such as this which focuses on how we can assess our risk that our youths face, mitigate some of those vulnerabilities and look at how as leader in our society that we could enhance that they have a smooth sailing as they go.”


The conference continues on Wednesday at the Mexican Sports Centre in Belize City. Reporting for News Five, I am Hipolito Novelo.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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