Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Steve Blackett. (FP)

Representatives from the Organisation of American States (OAS) have gathered in Barbados for the 92nd Meeting of the Directing Council of the Inter-American Children’s Institute, to discuss and develop policies for children and adolescents across the region.

Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Steve Blackett, welcomed the representatives at the official opening ceremony on Tuesday, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre and noted the significance of the meeting as the first in the English-speaking Caribbean.

“As a country, we acknowledge the primary purpose of the IIN which is to cooperate with the Governments of the Member States of the Inter-American System to promote the development of activities and technical instruments that contribute to the integral protection of the rights of children and adolescents. The improvement of the quality of life of children and families is also high on its agenda.”

“Today, we are gathered here because we believe that children are the future of all nations and that it is our responsibility to protect them through policies, programmes and practices which are designed to ensure that they are given opportunities for the best foundations possible.”

The Minister told the council that while challenges may vary from territory to territory, “children are a vulnerable segment of the population in any country” and they should seek to develop a framework which seeks to protect the interest of all children.

“As you review your Action Plan, discuss your achievements, and your unfinished agenda, that is, what remains to be done and how, I hope that every effort is made to ensure that children within the region of the Americas enjoy their rights and freedoms and that states implement programmes and policies that can suitably respond to their demands and expectations. Our children deserve nothing less.” he maintained.

The Social Care Minister also highlighted the current situation in the region and asked the council to be mindful during their deliberations of their “brothers and sisters who were affected by the recent hurricanes and storms”.

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