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Ms Terez Lord,  CARICOM Youth Ambassador, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago,  Keynote Address on the occasion of the Caribbean Congress on Adolescent on Youth Health – Opening CeremonyOctober 2019

October 14, 2019

It is indeed a distinct honour to stand before you as CARICOM Youth Ambassador of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago on this incredible occasion.

I deliver these words out of my mouth but pouring out of the hearts of young people – youths and adolescents of the entire Region.

Today we witness, and we contribute towards history. History is more than the path left by the past. It influences the present, and it can shape the future.

Today history is being made as we inaugurate the First ever Caribbean Congress on Adolescent and Youth Health!

This congress is a safe space, rich in dialogue, where international partners and practitioners can highlight and address issues/challenges circumventing good health and wellbeing of a major subset of the population and a critical human resource: the youth and adolescents; Not forgetting adolescents and youths with disabilities.

It is a catalyst for policymakers to discuss how to improve as well as how to sustain investment in our health in a manner that is deliberate, impactful, measurable and sustainable – #Agenda2030!

This Congress, the first of its kind is for youth, by youth, with youth and supported by the young at heart- the “youngish”. It is bolstered by momentum. It is action-oriented and should have a decisive follow-up.  This is not a talk-shop. We must set the basis for no less.  Health and well-being are far and wide and must be met with ambitious, future-oriented, systemic regional responses.

When I think of regional responses, I think of the Caribbean Community – the CARICOM.  Collaboration, comradery and cohesive Caribbean integration!

The dream and ideology are meaningful as my sister would say when referring to the epiphany that birthed CARICOM when it was established in 1973.

Today, this audacious, integrative move is so that future generations would have benefitted from what we as young leaders would have advocated for and what we have worked so hard to achieve.

The young people are here in this room. They are present and ready. They are ignited by passion and purpose. We are ready to contribute to the conversations that impact us – which we have been excluded, ostracized and marginalized- or on a good day- tokenized.

I say let’s do this together: inter-state, inter-organisational and inter-generational!

May God Bless you and May God Bless your nations.