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CARICOM governance of youth development: prospects for regional citizenship/Gobernanza de CARICOM en desarrollo juvenil: perspectivas de ciudadania regional/Gouvernance de la CARICOM du developpement des jeunes: perspectives de la citoyennete regionale.


Youth exclusion is framed as a threat to the sustainability of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), yet the literature on youth development lacks analysis of the inclusiveness of regionalist frameworks of governance. This article argues that recent changes to regional youth development strategies potentially support the emergence of a regional citizenship construct. Drawing on a qualitative text analysis of focal decisions, declarations and strategies from 1973-2012, it documents a shift from an instrumentalist conceptualisation of youth to one of citizen inclusion. It concludes with an assessment of the opportunities and threats to the realisation of regional citizenship, in light of the ongoing Change Facilitation process of regional governance reform.

La exclusion juvenil se considera una amenaza para la sostenibilidad de la Comunidad del Caribe (CARICOM). Sin embargo, la literatura sobre el desarrollo juvenil carece de un analisis de la inclusion dentro del marco regionalista de la gobernanza. Este articulo propone que los cambios recientes de estrategias regionales para el desarrollo juvenil potencialmente conducen a la aparicion de un constructo de ciudadania regional. El articulo se basa en un analisis cualitativo de los textos de las decisiones, declaraciones y estrategias de los anos 1973-2012, y traza el cambio de la conceptualizacion instrumentalista de la juventud por una de inclusion ciudadana. Concluye con una evaluacion de las oportunidades y las amenazas con respecto al logro de la ciudadania regional, a la luz del proceso continuo de Facilitacion del Cambio por medio de la reforma de la gobernanza regional.

L'exclusion des jeunes est decrite comme une menace pour la durabilite de la Communaute des Caraibes (CARICOM), mais la documentation sur le developpement des jeunes manque une analyse de l'integration des cadres de gouvernance regionalistes. Cet article soutient que les changements recents a des strategies regionales de developpement des jeunes soutiennent potentiel-lement l'emergence d'une construction de la citoyennete regionale. S'appuyant sur une analyse qualitative de texte des decisions, declarations et strategies focales entre les annees 1973 et 2012, il documente un passage d'une conceptualisation instrumentaliste de la jeunesse a une d'inclusion des citoyens. Il se termine par une evaluation des possibilites pour et des menaces a la realisation de la citoyennete regionale, a la lumiere du processus en cours de la facilitation du changement de la reforme de la gouvernance regionale.


We, the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), meeting ... on 30 January 2010 on the occasion of a Special Summit on Youth Development ... Declare our intention to explicitly recognize and clearly articulate the role of youth in Caribbean development in the amended Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas; and to ensure that this role is enshrined in national and regional development strategies, together with provisions for youth mainstreaming, youth-adult partnership and youth participation across all sectors (CARICOM Conference of Heads of Government 2010).

The year 2010 was a landmark year for young people with the United Nations (UN) declaration of August 2010 to July 2011 as the second International Year of Youth (IYY). In the same year, CARICOM issued the above statement in its Declaration of Paramaribo on the Future of Youth in the Caribbean, which signalled a paradoxical position on the governance of youth development in the region. The Heads of Government held expectations that youth should contribute to regional development and, consequently should be accorded rights as partners and participants in that process. In effect, the Declaration indicates, in the view of this author, an intention to treat youth as regional citizens of the Community. The position is paradoxical since citizenship--defined here as the rights and responsibilities of belonging to a community--is rarely considered a feature of supranational regional frameworks. At the same time, the associated participation rights and contributory expectations of a citizenship concept are increasingly being acknowledged as critical to the sustainability of regional institutions, which have struggled to maintain popular relevance, particularly in the post-2008 period of financial and economic crisis.

This paper argues that CARICOM, which has been criticised for being protractedly 'in crisis' (Girvan 2012; Singh 2012; Lewis 2010, 2005; Ramsaran 1978) and is now undergoing a process of 'Change Facilitation', is positioned to advance a new framework of youth inclusion which will secure the sustainability of the Community through regional citizenship. It seeks to analyse the relationship between the youth development agenda and the emerging space for regional citizenship by answering two questions, namely, How are youth included and youth development conceptualised in CARICOM's regional governance framework?, and, What are the implications of those conceptualisations for the construction of a regional citizenship framework in CARICOM? Through a discussion in the next five sections, this paper will demonstrate the emergence of a construct of 'youth inclusion as citizenship' which remains vulnerable to a political culture of regional misgovernance.

First, it reviews the literature on youth development to identify attendant norms of inclusion and citizenship; and secondly, it proposes a working draft framework for regional governance analysis of youth development. Subsequently, it applies the analytical framework to two dimensions of regional governance--the political context of regional governance in the third section, and the institutional policy framework for youth development in the fourth section. Finally, the paper concludes with a discussion of the features of the youth development framework and makes some remarks on the implications for construction of a regional citizenship framework in the new era of change.


For the purposes of this paper, youth development is a multidimensional process and objective which seeks to advance the rights of youth, support their heeds and aspirations, and help them to contribute to the societies in which they live. This definition suggests that youth development is all at once, an analytical concept, social practice and political agenda. Established academic disciplines in medicine, the social sciences and humanities, including Paediatrics, Sociology, Psychology and Education, have been joined by more recent interdisciplinary disciplines, such as Youth Studies, Social Work, and Youth Work in advancing understandings of youth and their development. In those contexts, youth development as an analytical concept is an age-based construction of categories for study--from child to adolescent and teenager, to youth to young adult or young person. However, the imprecise and overlapping nature of these categories, while giving rise to a wide range of debates, has also encouraged a dominant sociological approach to the study of youth development globally, and in the Caribbean, which focuses on the transitional place and role of the young individual in society (Lewis and Carter 1995; Kehily 2007; Brown, Larson, and Saraswathi 2002). Within the 'sociology of youth' there exist conceptual debates about inter alia whether youth are being or becoming; are social agents or socialised subjects; or are an age generation or social class (Jones 2009). At the same time, as specific policies, programmes and activities have been developed for youth, sociological approaches have shifted to a focus on 'youth development' as more than a process of life-cycle transition, but also as a social practice. Sobe (2012, 101), for example, argues that youth development--unlike child development which is an established medical and psychological discipline--
   is better viewed as an area of social practice that has very little
   to do with any concept of maturation, and even quite tenuous
   links with notions of transition. Instead, the increasingly
   globalised impetus to implement 'youth development' projects
   furthers a 'human resources' perspective on the productive
   capacities of youth and the worthiness of youth as a sector with
   which NGOs and governments should be concerned.

In other words, as a social practice, the concept engages youth as tools within development, rather than engaging with the development of the body, mind or other constituent parts of the young person. This conception of youth development as practice reveals conceptual tensions between, on the one hand, the underlying paternalistic assumptions of deficiencies of power and development inherent in youth, which require governments and others to act upon them; and on the other hand, benevolent intentions to harness an inherent power of youth to contribute to broader processes of societal development. However, the trend which has been responsible for 'youth development' becoming embedded within the contemporary international development lexicon has been the linking of community and national practices of working with youth to broader policy concerns, including those found in international conventions and goals like the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

In effect, youth development has become a political agenda in international policy-making. This transnational political perspective on youth development has received limited attention in the academic literature, yet it offers much to the understanding of regional conceptualisations of youth development. While some of the literature constructs the international agenda as a restrictive force on youth action (Jones 2009, 30), it can also be seen as a system which codifies rights and expectations for youth citizenship, constructs spaces for youth inclusion and guides action in support of youth goals. Admittedly, despite the attractiveness of the international agenda as a sphere for transnational agenda, it also reveals a hegemony of international institutions which dictates the language of what is considered to be progressive and positive youth development. The language of the international agenda is sometimes at odds with critical perspectives and academic traditions. There are two areas which could be used to illustrate some of these tensions. These are in relation to, firstly, the conceptualisation of youth and secondly, the 'placement' of youth.

Much of the academic literature which falls into the sociology of youth has documented the disparate experiences of young people in different cultural, ethnic and national contexts. Therefore, the heterogeneity of youth is emphasised, suggesting the existence of varying 'youthscapes' of development which are not generalizable to all contexts (Maira and Soep 2005). Critical discussions in Youth Studies, for example, have sought to document and expose the realities of youth from the young person's perspective, by documenting disparate youth-subcultures in Britain and North America (Hall and Jefferson 1975; Savage 2007); while contributions from the Youth Work discipline have also sought to theorise and document the youth agency and experiences at community level (Belton 2009). However, in contrast, other institutional definitions of youth have emerged from the work of international development agencies like the United Nations (UN) and the Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP) which suggest a homogenous conceptualisation of youth as a collective agent of development change. The first UN IYY which was observed in 1985, under the theme "Youth in Participation, Youth in Development and Youth in Peace", set expectations for youth to collectively 'shape the future of humanity' (Jain 1986, 7). In a related way, the UN in particular, has created common operational definitions of youth, based on age categories, which aid in policy formulation and the delivery and monitoring of programmes for young people. In spite of a lack of full consensus on definitions and validity of the categories, many national governments pursue youth development agendas based on standardised classifications of youth as persons 15-24 years old, while also acknowledging children (0-18 years), adolescents (0-19 years), young people (10-24 years or 10-29 years); and also allowing other classifications of youth up to the age of 35 as in African Union and some Caribbean countries (United Nations n.d.). Here, the international agenda pursues a kind of homogenisation in furtherance of common goals; but reluctantly allows a level of heterogeneity to respect cultural and other differences across countries.

The second illustration of the influence of international youth development has been the encouragement of a shift in the spaces for the inclusion of youth. While traditional debates in youth work and youth studies 'place' youth in the community or in the nation (Batsleer and Davies 2010), more recent studies embrace new frontiers for youth studies, recognising that transnational governance organisations influence constructions of youth and their development (Lesko and Talburt 2012). As a result, training in youth work, for example, has been expanded beyond traditional principles and practices of community youth work to consideration of youth development practice in a contemporary globalized context of multilevel spheres of action (James 2012; Commonwealth Youth Programme Caribbean Centre (CYPCC) 2012). (1) These new 'spatiotemporalities', initiated by the international agenda, make it possible to consider youth at the level of the region, which has received limited attention in the Caribbean, and which may help to advance our knowledge of youth development in the contemporary era of globalisation.

The international agenda, through various inter-governmental institutions, agencies, programmes and funds, has also influenced the language of youth development. Initiating key terminology like participation, empowerment and mainstreaming, a series of international conventions and declarations emerge from the 1980s onwards to guide the way in which youth should be analysed and youth development should be practised. Although the conceptions of youth development, as analytical concept and social practice, remain valid and have received some attention in the literature, there is need for further analysis of the contributions of the international political agenda in codifying elements of a transnational paradigm of youth development and advancing an agenda for youth inclusion at all levels of society.

International Youth Development Agendas and Spaces for Inclusion

The end of the Cold War is an important historical marker for the ascendancy of the contemporary international youth development agenda. The 1985 IYY initiated the advancement of a Youth In Development approach based on the premise that young people, representing a significant proportion of the global population, were being "systematically excluded" (Mike Males in Mokwena 2001, 16). It was also premised on the notion that the involvement of youth would improve development programming--thereby employing youth as tools for programme efficiencies. Following the triumph of a Western democratic agenda at the end of the Cold War, a new lexicon of inclusion emerged to reinforce the approach. concepts of youth empowerment, youth participation and youth mainstreaming, began to be evoked in international declarations and conventions.

Chronologically, youth participation emerges as the first element of the new youth development orthodoxy--identified as a desirable feature and goal of democratic societies and closely associated with the concepts of freedom and citizenship (Foster and Naidoo 2001). After the 1985 IYY call for "active participation [of youth] in the overall development of society" (Jain 1986, 7), the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) established youth participation as an international norm. Article 12 indicated that "Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views, the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the view of the child, being given due weight in accordance with age and maturity of the child" (United Nations 1989). By the time Roger Hart's seminal essay on children's participation was published in 1992, the definition of youth participation was explicitly tied to a conception of citizenship. Hart (1992, 5) defined participation as "the process of sharing decisions which affect one's life and the life of the community in which one lives. It is the means by which a democracy is built and it is a standard against which democracies should be measured. Participation is a fundamental right of citizenship". Notwithstanding critical realist perspectives on 'participation' as a mechanism of state control and governmentality over unruly youth (Podd 2010; Bessant 2003; Farthing 2012), participation has become an unchallenged international norm of youth development and has encouraged practitioners to engage in typologising participation, and assessing relative manipulation and tokenism, against more progressive approaches of consultation and shared decision-making (see metaphorical Ladder of Participation advanced by Hart 1992, 8).

The global commitment to youth participation was further reinforced with the adoption of the 1995 World Programme of Action on Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond (WPAY) which addressed youth rights to education, employment, food and nutrition, healthy physical and social environments, protection of human rights, participation in decision making and creation of spaces for cultural, sporting and recreational activities (United Nations 1995). Today, the WPAY acts as the global blueprint for the formulation of youth policies. The rationale for participation then, was, in the view of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, to preserve the lifeline of societies (United Nations 1998). A couple of years later, 'youth empowerment' also emerges as a rationale for participation. From a 1997 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, a Plan of Action for Youth Empowerment (PAYE) was commissioned which outlined empowerment as a desired state in which "young people ... acknowledge that they have or can create choices in life, are aware of the implications of those choices, make an informed decision freely, take action based on that decision and accept responsibility for the consequences of those actions" (Commonwealth Youth Programme 2007, 15). The language here seems to assume an inherent power among young people and an intention to positively influence that power towards development. However, an alternative perspective would argue that the language of empowerment is fundamentally in line with the traditional deficit models of youth development, which require external forces to act upon the youth for them to realise power. Indeed, the PAYE required governments and other stakeholders to take responsibility for creating the enabling environment for empowerment and that responsibility included a process of mainstreaming.

Mainstreaming was defined as the "systematic integration of youth affairs into the work of all relevant stakeholders" including allocating budgets, adopting youth empowerment approaches, allowing youth participation in policy-making, monitoring and reporting on progress and increasing knowledge on youth affairs (Commonwealth Youth Programme 2007, 13). The concept has since been adopted by bilateral donors as well (see, for example, USAID 2012).

By the time the second IYY was celebrated in 2010-2011, the three elements of youth development were embedded in the international lexicon as part of a global political agenda, supported by Western conceptions of democracy. Today, with over 20% of the global population between 15 and 24 years old; and over 60% of the Commonwealth under the age of 30 years, youth inclusion through these three concepts is considered a demographic imperative (Commonwealth Secretariat 2014). The most recent World Conference on Youth in 2014 has issued a call for an 'Inclusive Youth-led Development', including a standalone goal on youth empowerment and participation in the Post 2015 development agenda and for youth mainstreaming at all levels (Governments of the United Nations 2014). The new paradigm--with its tripartite mechanisms of participation, empowerment and mainstreaming--emerges as a political response to a narrative of exclusion told by the development context. The recent coinage by the ILO of the NEET acronym--Not Employed or in Education or Training--is one of the best examples of the dominance of the youth exclusion concern. The excluded are found in 25% of Latin American youth who are 'neither-nors', 'ninis' or 'ni trabajar ni estudiar' (Garcia 2011, 2); the 'hittistes' in Europe (Lundberg 2011); and the 'corner youth' or 'youth on the block' in the Caribbean. Interestingly, the narrative of exclusion is economically based and linked to manifestations of youth in crime, violence and risky sexual behaviour. The fear of youth perpetuates a conceptualisation of youths as development problems and infringes on the citizenship rights set up by the international agenda. Youth are considered to be disenfranchised from their rights to citizenship by power structures which suggest that young people lack capacity to take responsibility for themselves; that males are more valuable than females; that youth are apathetic and don't want to participate; and that they are problems to be fixed because of their high representation in statistics on crime, poverty, unemployment and sexually transmitted diseases like AIDS (Mokwena 2001). The 'problem' of youth becomes a transnational one in an increasingly globalised development framework, including regionalist responses.

Youth in Regional Governance

The region is an interesting space for the construction and contestation of notions of citizenship whether at supranational or subnational levels (Narramore 1998; Hepburn 2011; Lindstrom 2012), although previously limited to the nation-state (Verba 2003; Schlozman and Burns 1994). Young people have been at the forefront of operationalising youth citizenship at the regional level. For example, the European Union (EU) provides an interesting case, because it is the archetypal regionalist organisation, and because it is one of the most advanced regions in terms of youth inclusion. Youth participation is framed as a counter to social exclusion in the EU. The concept--at first instrumentally linked to maximising the productive potential of young people as workers--(European Foundation for Improvement of Living and Working Conditions 1990), has evolved into a broader framework for participation in all areas of European life. In effect, civic participation is treated as an important aspect of regional citizenship (Mirazchiyski, Caro, and Sandoval-Hernandez 2014). The initially instrumentalist focus on youth employment is now complemented by objectives for youth participation in society, education, global development, volunteering, fitness and wellbeing as well as culture and creativity, which suggest openness to a more holistic notion of the European youth citizen. The Union acts as the agenda-setter for the Member States because of the strength of its supranational institutions. In this way, inclusion is embedded within the European political culture, even with the widening of the Union to 22 Members of diverse traditions of 'democracy', because civic participation is codified in the European instruments. The current EU Youth Strategy 2010-2018, implemented by the European Commission, promotes a transnational concept of active citizenship at the local, regional and international levels (European Commission 2014).

Similarly, the African Union (AU) has adopted a 2006 African Youth Charter which recalls the international commitments of the WPAY and establishes a continental commitment to advancing the rights of young people, including to participation in decision-making and governance (Assembly of the African Union 2006). Interestingly, the language of the charter speaks to youth 'marginalisation' (rather than exclusion) as the impetus for the new charter, in the context of the deteriorating socio-economic indicators of the situation of youth. However, the conceptualisation of youth as citizens with rights and responsibilities is firmly entrenched alongside references to youth participation and empowerment.

Notwithstanding the existence of a youth agenda in CARICOM, including programmes for participation to combat socio-economic challenges in the region of small developing states (Carter 2008), it has been criticised for being too welfare-focused and not politically transformational (Charles 2007). Indeed, in the Caribbean, there is no full picture of what a modern regional citizenship framework would look like, apart from dated proposals for West Indian identity offered in the early 1990s (West Indian Commission 1992; Ross-Brewster 1995). Given the firmly economic and functional model of integration in CARICOM, only national conceptions of citizenship appear relevant. Indeed, given various histories of exclusion based on race, class and gender (Alexander 2013; Gray 2013; Mohammed 2013; Robinson 2013), the frailty of citizenship at the national level gives caution to the pursuit of a regional one. In that context, the feasibility of a concept of youth citizenship is uncertain from an isolated reading of the 2010 Declaration which opened this discussion. Without an understanding of the underlying political culture from which the youth development agenda emerges, we cannot seek to identify the potential for a citizenship framework of youth inclusion.


The preceding discussion points to the need for a tailor-made framework to identify conceptions of youth and youth development, while taking account of the influence of contextual factors. In that regard, this framework draws on regional governance analysis as advanced by me elsewhere which takes into account three dimensions of governance--political context, institutional elements and ideas underpinning the governance approach (Gilbert-Roberts 2013). This current analysis engages with the first two dimensions as spaces in which youth and youth development are conceptualised in the region. The relationship between the political context and the policies and strategies on youth are expected to provide insight into the ideational meaning of (youth) citizenship in today's CARICOM. The three central concerns of youth inclusion--participation, empowerment, and mainstreaming--are treated as themes for a qualitative text analysis of official documentation of CARICOM (inspired by techniques in Kuckartz 2014). When put together, an analytical matrix for thematic analysis was prepared, as shown in Table 1 below.

Qualitative Text Analysis

Drawing deductively from the youth development literature, the analysis identified thematic issues for analysis and search codes. Inspired by institutionalist approaches, which suggest the selection of key temporal focal points (Manulak and Welch 2014; Lindegaard 2013), a selection of 15 key texts of regional governance was made (11 on general historical context and 4 on youth-specific agendas). Having identified key texts associated with significant periods of change in the regional governance framework, in respect of citizenship and youth development, each text was read in its entirety to gain an understanding of the overall context of the decisions and commitments. Then each was searched for references to the themes and codes identified in the analytical matrix. Although the themes in Table 1 are presented as "either/or" options for ease of notation, the analysis allowed for other themes to emerge from the texts of analysis. Where references to these themes and codes were found, a process of interpretation was undertaken to identify the conceptualisation of youth, youth development and citizenship in the Community. Key questions asked in the interpretation process were: How has CARICOM conceptualised notions of citizenship at the regional level? Are youth included in the regional conceptualisation of citizenship? Are the words 'youth' or 'young people' explicitly mentioned? What is the rationale for inclusion of youth? What role is ascribed to them? At which levels and in which spaces are citizens and youth to be included? Are the three key elements of the international youth development paradigm present?

That process of analysis revealed interesting features of an emerging conception of regional citizenship through youth inclusion in CARICOM. The remainder of the discussion will highlight the findings of the review, in relation to the context for 'citizenisation' in the policies adopted to guide the regional governance of youth development.


The conceptualisation of youth development is influenced by the overarching political culture of regional governance in CARICOM. Defined here as "the system of empirical beliefs, expressive symbols, and values which defines the situation in which political action takes place" (Verba 1965, 513), political culture provides insight into the ideas which influence the construction of the youth agenda and, by extension, a concept of regional citizenship.

CARICOM's aforementioned crisis has emerged from two mutually reinforcing issues--an implementation deficit and a democratic participation deficit (Gilbert-Roberts 2013; Hall and Chuck-A-Sang 2007; Lewis 2005; Archer et al. 2002). Over a period of close to 30 years, the leaders of the framework commissioned at least eight major expert reviews--each of which produced a substantial report calling for radical reform of the modes of integration and governance, in reference to either one, or both, of these two deficits. (2) The most recent review concluded that, without reform, the integration movement would collapse within five years (Stoneman, Pollard, and Inniss 2012). Unfortunately, most of these reviews have addressed the managerial and administrative elements of reform to reverse the implementation deficit, but have not addressed the lack of broad-based citizen participation which, I argue, is critical for more legitimate regional governance. The question remains: How has an exclusionary framework been allowed to persist in CARICOM?

Unlike political culture at the national level, which emerges from negotiations between contending values and expectations of state and non-state actors (Pye and Verba 1965; Merrifield 2001), the regional governance framework is constructed entirely by ruling elites. Thus there are, legally, no regional citizens. In this way, our reading of key decisions and declarations of the Community from 1973 to the present, reveal that citizenship is initially conceptualised in a paternalistic way, treating people as instruments or technologies of development. At the same time, reading of the texts reveals several evolving commitments to inclusion. However, the dominance of the implementation deficit has contributed to persistent non-fulfilment of those commitments. This creates a duality of, on the one hand, theoretical openness to participation and inclusion, and on the other hand, a tradition of non-enforcement which permits exclusion. In addition, the reading suggests that the language of the commitments to inclusion appear to satisfy adherence to international conventions, more than seeking to construct an indigenous citizenship contract in fulfilment of the rights and expectations of Caribbean people.

Let us turn to the discussion of this duality of a theoretical politics of inclusion and an actual politics of exclusion, based on the review of documentation from key temporal focal points in the historical evolution of the governance framework.

Temporal Focal Points of Inclusionary Change

There are eleven temporal focal points of inclusionary change in the history of CARICOM governance identified in this analysis of political context from 1973 to 2010. Each point in the history of the Community produced a key piece of documentation which represents the views of the leaders on the construction of the regional governance framework. A summary of the findings on inclusiveness over the period is found in Table 2.

The legacy of the national referendum in Jamaica, which precipitated the collapse of the West Indies Federation in 1962, was the emergence of a regional political culture averse to direct citizen participation. As a result, the subsequent framework for regional governance, the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA), eschewed all notions of political cooperation in favour of an exclusively economic conceptualisation of regionalism. However, consequent on popular disappointment with the benefits of the CARIFTA, the architects of a new framework were keen to ensure the inclusion of the people. Williams Demas (1974, 16-18), one of those architects, argued that a more legitimate form of regional governance could be pursued, which would provide opportunities for citizens to participate in governance and economic development. Therefore, the resulting 1973 Treaty of Chaguaramas establishing the Caribbean Community and Common Market, began with an explicit declaration of intent of Member States to "consolidate and strengthen the bonds which have historically existed among their peoples" and "to fulfil the hopes and aspirations of their peoples for full employment and improved standards of work and living" (CARICOM Conference of Heads of Government 1973). However, the text cannot be read as having met Demas' ideal, or to be considered 'inclusive' in the modern sense, since the three pillars of the Community--economic integration, foreign policy coordination and functional cooperation--were framed as benefits to Member States and not the people. Only in the case of functional cooperation were the benefits intended to accrue directly to the people, though the areas of cooperation suggest more concern with their socio-economic welfare than their political empowerment.

Participation in the original Treaty is framed as a limited process amongst the intergovernmental representatives of Member States, and there is no specific reference to children or young people. However, the statements of leaders at the time identify a conceptualisation of 'the youth'. The world was engaged in a common social construction of youth as a problem--best documented by Cohen's (1973) analysis of British moral panic over youth subcultures, which conceptualized youth as 'folk devils' who refused to conform obediently to decent values of the day. In the Caribbean, Michael Manley (1974, 199), who is treated here as a representative of his colleagues, framed the construction of youth thus:
   ... the world is witnessing a growing confrontation between
   the younger generation and the establishment about the place
   of the former in the decision-making process. To the
   unthinking members of the older generation, youth is a time
   for obedience. The moment when the young person may be
   admitted to the decision-making process is a time to be
   postponed as long as possible in this adult view. On the other
   hand, the young have always pressed for a voice in affairs at
   the family, international and national levels ... young people
   feel that the adult world places demands upon them of which
   they are acutely aware and which they must live but which
   they cannot influence.

The dominant paternalistic view of youth and other citizens was an inescapable element of this period of history, which focused the regional movement towards the consolidation of the 'Community of Sovereign States' and establishing the value of the arrangement, to advancing the governance capacity of Member States. Thus, the focus was on meeting the welfare of national citizens rather than seeking to engage with their political participation. Even ten years after the signing of the Treaty, the Nassau Understanding reached among the Heads of Government in 1984, speaks not to participation but 'involvement' and state 'investment' in people (CARICOM Conference of Heads of Government 1984). Stakeholders are identified as malleable instruments of development--sectors of the economy, trade unions, companies or "the young"--which were expected to bring into play "all energies and skills" to be adapted to the Community's objectives.

However, in the 15 years following the establishment of CARICOM, there were dramatic changes in the global political economy during the Cold War period, which stymied the realisation of the Community objectives and also reduced its popularity with the people. A decision was taken to revise the model of integration, and in 1989, the Heads of Government issued a Grande Anse Declaration which called for the deepening of integration and the establishment of a CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). The paternalistic tone continues, treating people as technologies of advancement for the CSME. They are, first and foremost, styled as human resources to be harnessed in support of state objectives--skilled personnel and workers who would have access to free movement across the region. The language of "consultation" is utilised on six occasions in the Declaration--but limited, on four of these occasions, to consultation among state representatives on the issues of advancing a regional market and economy. The private sector, trade unions and educational institutions are the groups identified to be engaged in consultation on the other occasions.

Notwithstanding, a potential broadening of the conceptualisation of people, occurs when Heads declare: "We are conscious that people, rather than institutions, are the creators and producers of development." Yet, paradoxically, they go on to conceptualise people mostly as organisational collectivities: "the private sector, the trade union movement, the regional universities, the religious organisations, women and youth organisations, the various professions, other non-governmental organisations" (CARICOM Conference of Heads of Government 1989). This specific mention of youth homogenises them as 'the youth organisation' and places them firmly at the level of communities within nation states--suggesting a lack of space for direct participation at the regional level. However, the reference to consultation in the Declaration is, at least, a signal of an intention to open up new spaces for broader inclusion. Annex II calls for public consultation--giving responsibility to an Independent West Indian Commission for Advancing the Goals of the Treaty of Chaguaramas. The establishment of this innovative initiative for direct participation is only hampered by the Annex's treatment of the Caribbean people as public relations technologies. Essentially, the Annex suggested that the Commission claim and document the artistic, musical, cultural and sporting successes of individuals as a means of constructing a regionalist narrative of 'Caribbean-ness' and collective Caribbean success. An alternative approach would have been to acknowledge the individual successes and contributions of the people, but also their concerns, which could likely include criticism--constructive or not--of the regionalism which had hitherto been crafted by their leaders.

The Commission began its work to document the views of ordinary Caribbean people across the region on a wide range of issues and, in that way, contributed to the emergence of a second phase of history, referred to as the expansion of the community from one of sovereign states to one of sovereign states and peoples. During the four-year period of the Commission's public consultations (1989-1992), the Heads engaged in two meetings which also signalled a shift in the conceptualisation of the role of people in the movement towards citizenship.

First, in August 1990, the Heads issued a Kingston Declaration after the failure of an attempted coup in Trinidad and Tobago in July. The unanticipated threat to state sovereignty confirmed the ineffectiveness of conceptualising people as mere human resource tools without political agenda. At Kingston, the people are referred to for the first time as citizens of a democracy which expects them to be "committed" to the objectives of the state and Community and in return, the state would ensure their "involvement" by moulding them into a homogenous Caribbean personality (CARICOM Conference of Heads of Government 1990). Youth are not mentioned here, though the subtext suggests concern with the vulnerability of youth to radicalisation by groups like the Jamaat al Muslimeen in Trinidad and Tobago. The second meeting, ahead of the completion of the West Indian Commission's work was a Regional Economic Conference held in Trinidad in 1991 involving civil society representatives. The Port of Spain Consensus is reflective of the welfare state's desire to protect the vulnerable--identified as women and youth in particular--who have special difficulties in the economy (Tripartite Regional Economic Conference 1991). The citizen and human resource conceptions of people are merged at this point in history.

Given the entrance of 'the citizen' into the lexicon, it is not surprising that the Report of the West Indian Commission entitled Time for Action, submitted to Heads in 1992, ushers in a new era of the 'citizenisation' of the Community. The language of the report is reminiscent of the constituent elements of inclusion which emerged from our review of literature. Popular participation and accountability are treated as one of three "indigenous West Indian values" emerging from consultations with Caribbean people. The wide-ranging recommendations are too numerous to analyse fully here. However, attention will be paid to the conceptualisation of youth which received two specific references in the report. The first is a short introductory comment on "Meeting Youth's Aspirations". There, the rationale for youth inclusion is simply the necessity of securing the future. The Commission argued, that "little will come of our efforts if we do not succeed in inspiring their [youth] full participation in the immense tasks of the 1990s" (West Indian Commission 1992, 28).

The second section of the report dedicated to youth, under "The Concerns of Youth" seemed to argue more for a prioritisation of the collective problems of youth, rather than the diverse concerns of young people. Although youth involved in crime and violence, or infected with HIV, were in a minority of the population, these were the issues of focus in the section. The Commission identified, health (specifically AIDS), education and labour market penetration (youth unemployment rates were three times the national rates), housing, illegal drugs, recreational opportunities and powerlessness as the key issues. In relation to the latter, the Commission (1992, 378-379) highlighted hypocrisy of approach to youth inclusion hitherto:
   [Youth] wish to secure the position and consideration in society to
   which they consider themselves entitled ... This demand is often
   blocked by the adult world's tendency to consider that the young
   are not yet full members of society and cannot, before being
   admitted as such, claim to exercise many rights that are directly
   or indirectly denied them. Yet, herein lays the contradiction, for
   none of this prevents society from exacting contribution from youth
   when it is deemed appropriate. Youth generally have no power in the
   process of definition of norms and values which are used to guide
   social behaviour. Nor are they included in the process of judging
   or evaluating their behaviour. From the perspective of youth, it
   therefore appears unreasonable for shifting criteria to be employed
   in such judgement: for them to be required to undertake all the
   responsibilities associated with the role of a full member of
   society without the simultaneous enjoyment of the rights which go
   with that role.

Essentially this amounted to a strong rejection of the previous period's merged concept of youth as citizen and human resource, and a move towards a call for citizenship rights of participation for young people--who through feelings of alienation, marginalisation and powerlessness--were emerging as major societal problems for the community. As a result, the recommendations of the Commission spoke to meeting the rights of youth in relation to education, better parenting and protection from abuse, as well as calls for strengthening the structures for youth participation such as National Youth Councils. I argue that, notwithstanding the facade of endowing youth with rights, the conceptualisation of youth as problems, which was also noted by Linden Lewis (1995), was maintained as a result of two factors. One was the process of consultation employed by the Commission, and the second, the general challenging context of youth development. Interestingly, it appears that the process of consultation with youth may not have always been a direct one, as the Commission admits to speaking with parents, in lieu of children and youth, to identify the issues of concern. It is natural therefore, for paternalistic problematisation to emerge from such a process. The second point of problematisation emerges from the challenging context of youth development. As Table 3 shows, around the time of the Commission's report, the regional youth population of 15-24 year olds was estimated to be around 20% of the total regional population (Lewis and Carter 1995, vii). The demographics suggested that young people bore a significant burden of the social ills of the time, occasioned by the economic pressures of the 1980s and 1990s periods of structural adjustment. The manifestations were social disorder, drug abuse and violence. Lewis (1995, 12) considered this to be more than a problem of youth but a broader "crisis of civil society".

The crisis precipitated civil society agitation for implementation of one of the Commission's proposals for a CARICOM Charter of Civil Society, which was eventually adopted in 1997. It is perhaps important to note here that the agitation emerged from a series of periodic discussions between Heads and a limited number of labour, private sector and NGO representatives, which had been meeting as a Joint Consultative Committee for Common Market Council since 1973. Generally, in the Charter, people are accorded rights to participate in the economy, in the electoral process and in the activities of a political party or organisation. It, however, gives special attention to children and youth. Children under 18 years were accorded rights to protection from abuse, to health care, to education and training, and proper care from their parents (CARICOM Conference of Heads of Government 1997, Articles XII, XV). These articles, no doubt, responded to the recommendations of the West Indian Commission, but also recognised the commitments of individual Member States to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The treatment is generally welfarist until Article XVIII which explicitly outlines participation rights for young people--though limited to economic activity and not outlining direct participation rights for youth at the regional level.

The full operationalization of the Charter has never been achieved. The annual dialogue with members of the Joint Consultative Committee was suspended, as were the meetings of the Assembly of Caribbean Community Parliamentarians which had emerged as a potential mechanism for popular consultation. In 2002, the Liliendaal Statement issued after a meeting of Heads with civil society, sought to reinvigorate the civil society agenda without success. Kristina Hinds-Harrison (2013) has demonstrated that, notwithstanding CARICOM's desire to live up to international ideals of 'good governance', its failure to construct a clear meaning of the concept of 'civil society' impinged on the capacity to operationalise inclusion. Indeed, up to that point, the scope and role of the participatory mechanisms had been limited to representative institutions. I argue that the aforementioned persistent culture of implementation deficit also prevented the operationalization of the Charter. Furthermore, I argue that the imperative lies less with establishing a sharper concept of a civil society inclusionary framework, but more with the construction of a broader citizen-inclusive framework of regional governance. The latter frame for inclusion holds potential for more effective regional governance through the creation of spaces for individual participation alongside 'representative' government and non-government groups.

Shortly after the adoption of the Charter, the Heads decided to update the Treaty to take into account the Grande Anse decision to implement a CSME. The 2001 Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas reflected a new inclusionary framework and youth were specifically mentioned. Article 17(2)d of the Revised Treaty gives the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD)--one of four sectoral decision-making organs of the Community subordinate only to the Conference of Heads and Community Council of Ministers--the responsibility to "establish policies and programmes to promote the development of youth (and women) in the Community with a view to encouraging and enhancing their participation in social, cultural, political and economic activities". The language here reflects a lot of the international consensus on youth development. However, the traditional conceptions of youth as technologies of production and of public relations re-appear in Articles 57 (which calls for public education for youth to steer them into the agriculture sector) and 75 (which links the promotion of youth exchange programmes to efforts to promote understanding and appreciation of the Community) (CARICOM Conference of Heads of Government 2001). As important as the objectives of increasing knowledge and appreciation of the Community are, the framing of youth inclusion here is reminiscent of Bessant's (2003) critique of participation as governmentality and control which steers youth into the established political culture rather than negotiates with them to create a new culture.

The tone set by the Revised Treaty is continued in subsequent documents including the watershed Rose Hall Declaration, which though it made no special reference to children, youth or to citizens, emphasised that a new system of governance should be created to ensure the betterment of the lives of 'people'. However, the 'people' were again employed as tools for government public relations through a call for them to support the CARIFESTA VIII (CARICOM Conference of Heads of Government 2003). It was not until the Single Development Vision (SDV) for the Community was developed in 2006, that youth were again included explicitly--though again, ambivalently. First, there was a progressive call for the creation of youth empowerment best practices in public policy, and then, secondly, there was an instrumental call, in the context of a proposed Human Resource Development strategy for the region, for "... equipping the youth of the region with a sense of regional identity and pride of accomplishment and with the attitudes, skills and work habits needed to participate successfully in a modern globalised economy"(Girvan 2007, 15-38). Later, the potential for greater inclusion was again raised by the reviving of the civil society movement, through a 2010 project of the CARICOM Secretariat however, limited information is available to date about that process.

The preceding discussion of key focal points of change, in the view of this author, outline clear commitments to varied levels of inclusion of people in the regional governance process. Although the dominant theme is one of conceptualising people, including youth, as human resource assets and technologies of regional development, the Community has slowly evolved to acknowledge rights to political participation and to spaces for the voices of Caribbean people to be heard--whether in the reports of expert groups or in meetings of the decision-making organs. The challenge has been that there is no institutional mechanism to enforce implementation of these commitments. Few of them moved beyond the pages of the Treaties and Declarations into regional governance practice. Few of the West Indian Commission's recommendations were fully implemented and the consultative mechanisms were suspended.

Against that background, I now turn to a review of the youth development framework established at the regional level. Having noted the overarching commitments to inclusion, the review aims to identify the extent to which the evolution of the regional youth agenda, reflects an operationalization or advancement of the notion of citizenship in the Community. The discussion centres on two key focal points of institutionalisation--the adoption of the first regional strategy for youth development in 2001 and the subsequent updating of that strategy into a youth development action plan in 2012. There are four documents associated with the two periods.


Shortly after the Revision of the Treaty, a distinct youth agenda emerged in CARICOM. This first wave of youth inclusion reflects a conservative and pragmatic inclusionary mandate, inspired by the Charter of Civil Society and the Revised Treaty. A second wave emerged after the landmark 2010 Declaration of Paramaribo, which was the point of departure for this article. That second wave reflects a more advanced concept of inclusion which suggests a tentative move towards an emerging notion of youth citizenship.

The First Wave of Youth Development: Pragmatic Strategy

The genesis of the first wave was a 1996 meeting between CARICOM and the Organisation of American States (OAS) which discussed, inter alia, the development of a Regional Youth Policy, in the context of CARICOM's existing programme of work for youth development (CARICOM Secretariat 1997). The Secretariat had a small youth division of two persons--fondly referred to as the 'Youth Desk' given its limited capacity--which had been engaged in supporting the implementation of 14 national youth policies and seeking to create spaces for youth leadership development in the region through a CARICOM Youth Ambassadors Programme (CYAP). A series of meetings of Ministers and Directors of Youth Affairs from each Member State, and a series of meetings of Youth representatives, (3) led to the formulation of a draft of a regional strategy on youth in 2001. The first draft outlined seven priority areas related to research and development; institutional strengthening; youth participation (conceptualized as Goodwill Ambassador Programmes); youth employment; building youth capital; adolescent sexual reproductive health; and human resource development (CARICOM Secretariat 2001). The language is reflective of international commitments to addressing shared socioeconomic vulnerabilities of youth; while also promoting resilience through participation and youth leadership development (Directors of Youth of the Caribbean Community 2001). However, the reading reveals that the draft was not only heavily influenced by the theoretical frame set by the international youth development agenda, but by specific agendas of international agencies working with youth. Before the document was finalised, a parallel process of an Inter-Agency Meeting on Youth Development was convened in 2002, under the sponsorship of the UNDP and UNICEF, to address the coordination of donor-funded projects as a means to reduce duplication and waste of resources. The meeting issued an Aide Memoire suggesting that there was a "deepening crisis of Youth" in the region and they intended to pursue "a deliberate and aggressive strategy of ... strengthening the region's capacity to negotiate for and receive an increased share of resources for youth development" (CARICOM Secretariat 2002). The regional strategy was therefore a response to that need. This suggests a level of pragmatism in the operationalization of the values of the Charter and Revised Treaty Indeed, a poorly resourced Youth Desk had created a flexible framework which would serve as a mechanism for resource mobilization as well as a manifesto for inclusion.

Notwithstanding, the revised draft Regional Strategy for Youth Development (RSYD) outlined an empowerment based vision for youth--garnered from the communique of the 2000 Caribbean Youth Explosion in Grenada ]--of "a society which ... understands and believes in the ability of youth to shape and change society in progressive ways" (CARICOM Secretariat n.d.). The four thematic areas of the strategy were: the creation of social and economic empowerment opportunities for youth development; adolescent and youth protection; adolescent and youth leadership, governance and participation; and finally, adolescent and youth health and reproductive rights. The language changes to a Community conception of youth as heterogeneous--as both adolescents and youth--which is critical evidence of the adoption of the agenda of funding agencies like the UNICEF and UNFPA, which partnered specifically with the adolescent age group. Elsewhere, it explicitly adopts the UNICEF-led rights-based approach to participation. Similarly, the primacy of health and reproductive rights in the strategy is as much a concern with HIV prevalence rates among youth, as a coincidence of interests with the Pan Caribbean Partnership for HIV/AIDS (PANCAP), launched under the auspices of CARICOM Secretariat in 2001, with financing from a well-endowed Global Fund (Heads of State and Government of the Caribbean 2001). This pragmatism is not necessarily a problem for the RSYD since it serves to mainstream youth into existing programmes of the Community The Secretariat later asserted that "in the absence of a regional policy or conceptual framework for youth participation, an assortment of international and regional agreements, national laws and policies are used to guide action and shape responses" (CARICOM Secretariat 2003, 17). The RSYD created a coordinating framework to support the mobilization of resources for Member State goals. Youth participation, along with gender and institutional capacity-building, were identified as cross-cutting themes, thereby also maximizing the potential for resource mobilization.

At the same time, the CARICOM political culture of corralling youth into the mainstream is also present in the Strategy. It was aimed at "harnessing the potentials of youth and channelling them into mechanisms and strategies for societal change, economic development and technological innovation" (CARICOM Secretariat n.d.). During the period of its implementation between 2001 and 2009, youth are characterized by the Secretariat as 60% of the population who are "alienated and marginalized, excluded from participation in key social institutions and increasingly vulnerable to a range of social, economic and public health ills such as unemployment, substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, violence and crime" (CARICOM Secretariat 2003, 16). Paradoxically however, the Secretariat also argues that "Youth are therefore a part of the solution as well as the problem" (CARICOM Secretariat 2003, 16).

Empowerment (three references), participation (ten references) and mainstreaming feature in the RSYD, the latter described by the Youth Desk as youth "becoming everyone's business". At the same time, the governmentality of control approach is also present when the Secretariat also references "grooming youth for the job at hand" (CARICOM Secretariat 2003). Unfortunately, the RSYD received limited attention from young people and national Governments. There was a lack of ownership, and so, as the world experienced periods of economic crisis and the context for youth development was changing, the Community decided to update its approach and revise the strategy. I turn now to the second phase of youth development in the Community.

The Second Wave of Youth Development: Action Plan for Citizenship?

The Heads of Government mandated in 2007, the establishment of a Commission to "undertake a full scale analysis of the challenges and opportunities for youth in the CSME and make recommendations to improve their well-being and empowerment" (Venetiaan 2007). The rationale was clear--to find out more about youth to secure their support for a CSME which was losing relevance in an era of global financial and economic crisis. Like its predecessor, the CARICOM Commission on Youth Development (CCYD) embarked on several years of consultation which culminated in a report, submitted to Heads in 2010. The recommendations of the Commission prompted the issuance of the Declaration of Paramaribo to which we have already referred and eventually the formulation of a new CARICOM Youth Development Action Plan (CYDAP), complete with a set of six CARICOM Youth Development Goals (CYDGs) in 2012. Although a full-sale review of the Commission is outside the scope of this discussion, it is important to acknowledge two significant elements of the model of consultation employed by the CCYD in advancing commitments to youth participation. First, the CCYD appointed eight young people as Commissioners alongside seven adult technocrats and the Commission was co-chaired by one youth Commissioner and one adult Commissioner. This model of 'youth-adult partnership' sent a signal of a shift in the conceptualisation of youth from helpless and vulnerable problems to partners in development. Of course, the operationalization of the partnership was a learning process for all involved, but set a standard for the role youth were expected to play in the Community going forward. A second area of significance was that the commission's report emphasised the voices of youth throughout--including critical comments on the leadership of Member States and the Community. It even challenged leaders' assumptions about the importance of the CSME to youth. The survey of youth revealed widespread ignorance of the CSME; irrelevance of existing youth governance structures, emigration from the region as a valid option for meeting youth dreams and aspirations; and dissatisfaction with national, regional and international governance (CARICOM Commission on Youth Development 2010). In spite of this, the Commission was adamant that youth be treated as partners and not problems.

Notwithstanding the innovativeness of the Commission's approach, the response of the Heads to the report reflected tensions between the existing political culture and attempts to advance a people-focused approach to regionalism. Ironically, while the Youth Commission's report documented the 'voicelessness' felt by youth in communities and made recommendations to Heads to rectify it, when the Special Summit was convened to discuss the report in January 2010, Heads failed to seize the opportunity for inclusive governance. Only three (4) of the 19 expected Heads of Government attended. At no other Special Summit--a mechanism developed and employed by the Heads themselves for matters they consider to be of paramount importance (5)--had the attendance been so poor. The youth in attendance staged a protest at the start of the Opening Ceremony. They stood for nine minutes in silence as a symbolic gesture on behalf of the nine million youth (60% of the regional population) who were affronted by the absence of their leaders. Collins (2010, 6), an eye witness to the controversy lamented,
   While the Youth Ambassadors of the respective member states
   turned up ready for engagement, only two Heads of
   Government initially showed. The contrast was stark; the
   outcome, painful. It was evident that the youth, once again, has
   trusted the intentions and commitments of our leaders, only to
   be rejected out of hand. Only three Heads of Government put
   in an appearance. This spoke volumes about the priorities of
   our leaders. A clear and concise message was sent to nine
   million persons around the region. That message was: 'You are
   not on our list of priorities.

Notwithstanding the controversy, the Heads (those who attended) issued the Declaration of Paramaribo which caught our attention at the start of this discussion. The declaration set the parameters for the new framework for youth development. The language had become more sophisticated in its rejection of deficit models of youth development, but was still reminiscent of the language of the international development agencies. The Heads declared that youth were "invaluable assets and partners in development and not problems to be solved" (CARICOM Conference of Heads of Government 2010). It was also careful to acknowledge the historical contributions of the CYP, UNFPA, UNDP, UNICEF and other development partners. The public relations rationale was also present in the intention to "create a mass movement of youth in support of regional integration and to shape a sense of common identity and destiny". In calling for the development of a set of Youth Development Goals (CYDGs), as recommended by the CCYD, the Heads set the stage for the drafting of a CARICOM Youth Development Action Plan (CYDAP) which updated the RSYD and renewed the commitment to youth inclusion.

The CYDAP (CARICOM Secretariat 2012) is a much more intricate document than the RSYD, having been contextualised within the history of youth development and providing a rationale for youth development at the regional level, which is simply: 'Young people are critical to the success of the CSME'. An age-based distinction is made between adolescents (10-14 years) and youth (15-29 years) which maintains the donor-friendly heterogeneity. It provides guiding principles of action based on a human rights approach, including rights to participation in decision-making; an asset-based approach as a counter to the problematisation of youth; a life-cycle approach encouraging a heterogeneous treatment of youth; and also an evidence based approach to encourage data collection and monitoring of the plan. The six CYDGs outlined in Table 4 below reflect a comprehensive treatment of youth inclusion. It engages with the terminology of empowerment and participation in political as well as socio-economic terms. Yet, the Plan is also explicit in its pragmatism towards the financing of youth development, declaring that the first four goals have been aligned to international instruments including the MDGs, the UNFPAICPD Plan of Action; the PAYE 2008-2015; UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), "and other measures to which Governments are already committed to ensure coherence and optimise the deployment of resources" (CARICOM Secretariat 2012).

The Mainstreaming of youth (referred to nine times in the text) is a specific objective of the framework. Empowerment is used 14 times in conjunction with well-being and participation most frequently--25 times in the text. Importantly, citizenship features explicitly and prominently in Goals 2 and 4 as the community moves to create a regional identity. The CYDAP's specific citizenship language is intriguing. I am careful to acknowledge that the Plan does not explicitly speak to a notion of a regional citizenship and perhaps defers to a position of reinforcing citizenship rights at the national level. However, by associating the citizenship component with the creation of a regional identity it signals, at the very least, an interest in developing a cadre of Caribbean citizens, separate and apart from monitoring the protection of rights at the national level.

The period 2010 to 2012 was a watershed for regional youth development. It was the period in which youth gained the highest level of priority and the greatest level of attention. Indeed, the youth remain the only stakeholder group to have ever been accorded a special sitting of the Conference of Heads of Government (notwithstanding the controversy over attendance). However, we must acknowledge that the Community was largely styled during this period as 'being in crisis' and shifting towards a focus on functional cooperation alone (CARICOM Secretariat 2007; Hall and Chuck-A-Sang 2008). In that context, it is tempting to dismiss the period as merely an attempt to reinvigorate the failing movement by grabbing the attention of the region's young people. However, I suggest that the period has potentially more significant implications. The youth agenda holds great potential for initiating the process of citizenisation of regional governance.


This review of the youth development framework, against the background of an assessment of the inclusiveness of the regional governance framework, has not provided a clear picture of an indigenous framework for regional youth citizenship. The review of the context of governance revealed a tension between a theoretical politics of inclusion, influenced by international agendas for participatory and democratic governance; and a tradition of exclusion, influenced by fear of the people's rejection of the regional project. However, now that CARICOM is in the midst of a five-year Change Facilitation process and has drafted a Strategic Plan (CARICOM Secretariat 2014a), this assessment points to important issues which must be taken into consideration. To return to the central questions of the discussion, I will make five main observations about the conceptualisation of youth and youth development in CARICOM, before turning to three implications for construction of regional citizenship.

The Features of Youth and Youth Development

As CARICOM evolved through four distinct phases of inclusionary change, the conceptualisation of youth has evolved beyond its instrumental beginnings towards a citizenship-based conception of youth as partners. Beginning in 1973, the Community was focused on consolidating the Community of Sovereign States which rendered slow the adoption of inclusionary language at first. People were conceptualised as technologies of development, production and public relations. However, movement into phases of greater openness and transformation into a Community of State and Peoples encouraged a gradual 'citizenisation' of the Community. The first observation is that the changes to the youth development framework in the post 2010 era provide the strongest 'citizenised' conceptualisation to date, which holds potential for the emergence of a model for regional citizenship. Youth is more expansively defined and not limited to organisations which claim (sometimes erroneously) to be representative. In addition, the CYDAP is the most developed formal framework outlining regional commitments of governments and rights and responsibilities of citizenship. The Declaration of Paramaribo was issued after an evidence-based process of review of the situation of youth. The framework includes a clear and concise set of youth development goals, which can mobilise support and interest among young people around the region. It is framed as an action plan with complementary implementation, communication and monitoring frameworks.

Secondly, the prominence of concepts of Participation, Empowerment and Mainstreaming are encouraging for comprehensive youth inclusion and a significant shift from the 1973 notions of involvement; however their appearance likely reflects the strong influence of partnerships with international agencies on the lexicon of regional youth development. The extent to which indigenous meanings and understandings of these concepts have been advanced remains unclear.

Thirdly, I note that an inadequate internal institutionalisation of the youth development framework to support financing and implementation, has left it open to external influence, based on a need for resource mobilisation. The pragmatism which is dominant in the institutional framework could potentially stifle the emergence of a radical youth citizenship framework. At the same time, the recent international prioritisation of youth, in the context of the negotiation of the Post 2015 agenda, provides an opportunity for financing.

A fourth observation is that the transformed youth agenda has adopted an axiomatic assumption that youth development is critical to the sustainability of the regional agenda. As such, youth inclusion involves grooming of young people to ensure the success of the CSME and the emergence of a new regional identity. This trend of governmentality is both potentially restrictive, and potentially encouraging, for developing a means of modelling regional citizenship.

Finally, although not reviewed here, the framework is also supported by a system of programmatic initiatives for youth participation which represent promising practice for youth inclusion--such as the National Youth Parliaments and Councils, the CARICOM Youth Ambassadors' Programme (CYAP) and the recently-formed Caribbean Regional Youth Council (CRYC). In addition, the model of the CCYD is representative of an institutional innovativeness, vis-a-vis the experiment with youth-adult partnership, which could potentially be transferred to other parts of the regional framework.

Implications for Regional Citizenship

Now that we have made these observations, there are three implications to be considered. First, the full institutionalisation of the youth development agenda at the regional level is critical to the advancement of a model for citizenship. It requires strengthening of the executive authority and capacity of the youth desk, and greater coherence between national and regional levels. Financing of regionalism must be addressed to allow the community to prioritise its own agenda rather than those of others. In that regard, the recent announcement of the capitalisation of a CARICOM Youth Development Fund by Suriname, to the tune of US$50,000, is a welcome move in the right direction to ensure implementation of the CYDAP (CARICOM Secretariat 2014b). Adequate financing would also encourage indigenous definition of the constituent parts of youth development which are Caribbean priorities and the subsequent objective monitoring, through research, of progress.

Secondly, mainstreaming of the youth development model advanced by the 2010 Commission process, into wider regional governance mechanisms for civil society participation, will be critical. The reactivation of mechanisms like the Consultative Committee and ACCP (to include youth), for example; or adoption of other conceptualisations of Assemblies of Peoples (Meeks 2007) must be explored as frameworks for testing the mechanisms for citizen participation. In that regard, a proposal for a Committee of the Whole, comprising representatives of civil society groups, contained in the third draft of the CARICOM Strategic Plan, holds potential, though it lacks mechanisms for direct participation of the non-represented person.

Finally, the strengthening of the existing CARICOM Youth Ambassadors' Programme and other youth networks to improve their relationships with youth at national levels, will be one of the ways to begin to advance a regional identity and foundation for regional citizenship. The sixth CYDG on Leadership, Participation and Governance should be adopted as a priority in the short term. Indeed, this analysis could not accommodate a review of the effectiveness of these programmatic initiatives for inclusion. However, access to information and independent research on these youth leadership programmes will be critical to advancing mechanisms to support youth in their pursuit of regional citizenship (should they so choose).

The manifesto contained in the Declaration of Paramaribo suggests hope for the emergence of a true regional citizenship framework, which operates in tandem with national citizenships. However, due to the implementation deficit, prior commitments to greater inclusion of people at the regional level have suffered from a lack of implementation. The experience of the 2010 Special Summit is a reminder of the struggle between the political cultures of political leaders and those of youth leaders. On the one hand, the convening of the summit signalled the Heads 'openness' to participation and inclusion as a development option, as enshrined throughout the official decisions, declarations and statements since 1973. However, they were not compelled to commit. On the other hand, the young leaders, having grown up in democratic societies and experienced greater exposure to global shifts in participation, viewed participation and inclusion as their entitlement--that is a right and an imperative for development. The conflict of youth expectations of full attendance and the political leaders' rejection of the youth citizen is a concrete threat to the emergence of the regional citizenship framework.

Only the full implementation of the CYDAP--the most advanced inclusionary framework in CARICOM to date--will challenge the existing political culture. If the framework is properly institutionalised, youth inclusion is mainstreamed throughout CARICOM structures, and priority is given to strengthening regional youth leadership and participation, there is potential for piloting a 'youth inclusion as citizenship' framework. That pilot could potentially create a new ideational foundation for CARICOM, based on a regional citizenship framework which ensures the sustainability of the Community--not in its current form of stasis and crisis--but a revived one which is equipped, committed and compelled to meet the dreams and aspirations of its (young) citizens. Interestingly the declaration of the CYAP, issued in honour of the 40th anniversary celebrations of CARICOM in 2013, speaks of a desire and commitment of the youth to revive the movement, but also reflects an understanding of a pragmatism which has become a part of the political culture, and in which the youth will have to carefully negotiate their participation:

We are ready to take on and play our part in overcoming the present challenges and those challenges ahead. It is our firm belief that if we all play our part, by continuing to "labour in the vineyard of Caribbean integration" we can and we will together reap the associated rewards. Sure, it will require greater dedication, understanding and a pragmatic approach to the vision, but the past 40 years are gone in history, now our work must be grounded in ensuring that in the next 40 years, the content of our Treaty is made manifest in the everyday life of our CARICOM brothers and sisters. Let's Join Hands, Hearts, & Minds & Shape It Together! (Gutzmer, Morquette, and Browne 2013).


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(1) The CYP has advanced a regionalised agenda for the professionalization of youth work in the Caribbean since the 1970s and recently partnered with the University of the West Indies, Open Campus to design and offer the first regional degree programme in Youth Development Work, starting in the 2012/2013 academic year.

(2) The most prominent eight reports were 1981 Group of Experts Report; 1985 Pollard Review of CARICOM decision-making; 1990 Mills Review of Institutions; 1992 Report of the West Indian Commission; 2002 Archer-Gomes Review of the Secretariat; 2003 Report of Prime Ministerial Expert Group on Governance; 2006 Report of the Technical Working Group on Governance; 2012 Stoneman Report on Restructuring the Secretariat.

(3) These meetings included the Caribbean Youth Explosion of 1998 and 2000 and two sittings of a Caribbean Youth Assembly of Caribbean Community Parliamentarians in 1998 and 2000.

(4) President Runaldo Venitiaan, lead Head in the Quasi-Cabinet on Youth; Bharat Jagdeo, President of Guyana; and Roosevelt Skerritt, Prime Minister of Dominica and the youngest prime minister in the region, were the only representatives of the Conference of Heads of Government.

(5) Only 11 other special meetings or summits were convened between 1971 and 2007 before the Summit on Youth. None were focused on any particular sector or group within the society but on socio-economic thematic priorities.
Table 1: The Analytical Framework for Regional Governance Analysis of
Youth Development

Dimension 1: (General) Political Context for Inclusion

Units of Analysis       Themes                  Search Codes

11 Treaties,            * Inclusiveness/        * Citizenship
Declarations,           Exclusiveness of
Decisions                                       * Participation

1. 1973 Treaty of       CARICOM
                                                * Democracy
2. 1984 Nassau          ** Are people
Understanding           considered? As
                        Citizens?               * People
3. 1989 Grande Anse
                                                * Youth/Young People/
4. 1990 Kingston        ** Are there spaces     Children
Declaration             for citizen

5. 1991 Port of Spain

6. 1992 Report of the
West Indian             * Youth
Commission              Inclusion/Youth

7. 1996 Charter of      ** Are youth
Civil Society           considered?

8. 2001 Revised         ** How are they
Treaty of Chaguaramas   conceptualised

9. 2002 Liliendaal      ** Are there
Statement               dedicated spaces for

10. 2003 Rose Hall      youth participation?

11. 2006 Single
Development Vision

Dimension 2: (Youth-Specific) Institutional Policy Framework

4 Youth Development     * Conceptualisation     * Youth/Young People/
Strategic Documents     of Youth                Children

                        **                      * Citizenship

                        ** Homogenous/          * Empowerment

1 2001-2009 Regional    ** Productive/          * Participation
Strategy for Youth      Unproductive
Development (RSYD)
                        ** Problems/Assets

2 2010 Report of        ** Other                * Mainstreaming
CARICOM Comission on
Youth Development       * Inclusiveness of      * Inclusion
(CCYD)                  Policy Formulation

3 2010 Declaration of   ** Exclusionary

4 2010 CARICOM Youth    ** Participation as
                        Typology (Hart)

Development Action      ** Participation as
                        Control (Bessant)

Plan (CYDAP)            ** Participation as

                        ** Other

                        * Rationale for Youth

                        ** Sustainability of

                        ** Rights of

                        ** Programme

                        ** State

                        ** Obligation

                        ** Other

                        * Approach to

                        ** Social Welfare

                        ** Empowerment (UN,

                        ** Participatory

                        ** Mainstreaming
                        (Colombo Declaration)

                        ** Other

Table 2: Thematic Matrix: Summary of Findings

Unit         People            Youth Inclusive   Youth Concept
             Inclusive (+)-    (+)-Youth
             Exclusive (-)     Exclusive (-)

Phase 1: Consolidation of a Community of Sovereign States

1973 TOC     (-)               (-)               N/A
             Welfare state
             involves people

1984         (-)               (+) for           * Energies
Nassau       Paternalistic     employment and
             Welfare state     improved living   * Skills
             invests in        standards
             involved people

Phase 2: Gradual Transformation into a Community of Sovereign States
and Peoples

1989         (+)               (+)               Homogenous-
Grande                                           Collective
Anse         * Institutional                     youth
             Collectivities                      Organisations

             * Skilled

1990         (+) Citizen       (+)               Citizens
Kingston     Participants in

1991 Port    (+) human                           Vulnerable
of Spain     resources                           Entrants to the
                                                 Labour Force

Phase 3: Towards 'Citizenisation' of Community (and Inclusion of

1992 Time    (+) varied        (+)               * Implied
for Action   stakeholders                        citizens
             from state and
             non-state                           * Homogenous
             sectors at
             national,                           * Problems:
             regional levels                     Threats to

                                                 * Potential:
                                                 Resilient and

1996         (+)               (+)               * Child
Charter      Civil Society                       Citizens with
of Civil     Peoples of the                      rights
Society      Community
                                                 * Young people
                                                 as vulnerable

2002         (+) Civil         (-)               N/A
Liliendaal   Society
Statement    Organisations
             as Participants
             in regional
             making and

2001 RTOC    (+)               (+)               Youth as
             participants                        technologies of
             and partners                        Production and

2003 Rose    (+) People as     N/A               N/A
Hall         Technologies of

2006 SDV     (+)               (+)               Participants in
                                                 Global Economy

RSYD         Not assessed      (+)               * Problems:
                                                 in crisis,

                                                 * Solutions:

Phase 4: Towards Youth Inclusion as Creation of Model Citizens
(post 2010)

CCYD         Not Assessed      (+)               * Assets
                                                 * Partners

                                                 * Contributors

                                                 * Threat of

2010         Not Assessed      (+)               * Assets
                                                 * Partners

                                                 * Contributors

CYDAP        Not Assessed                        Assets


                                                 Human Resources

Unit         Rationale for     Approaches to     Process of
             Inclusion         Inclusion         formulation

Phase 1: Consolidation of a Community of Sovereign States

1973 TOC     N/A               N/A               N/A

1984         Adaptable         N/A               N/A

Phase 2: Gradual Transformation into a Community of Sovereign States
and Peoples

1989         * Assets in New   Consultation      N/A
Grande       Economy
             * "moving

1990         Neutralise        N/A               N/A
Kingston     threat to

1991 Port
of Spain

Phase 3: Towards 'Citizenisation' of Community (and Inclusion of

1992 Time    Success of        Consultation or   Participation
for Action   Integration and   Consultation      in CSME (not
             Securing the      with parents      politics)

1996         * Threats to      Welfare           N/A
Charter      Social Order      Rights
of Civil
             * International
             to CRC

2002         N/A               N/A               N/A

2001 RTOC    Sustainability    * Participation   N/A
             of Community
             and Productive    * Development
                               * Control/

2003 Rose    N/A               N/A               N/A

2006 SDV     Promote           Policy            N/A
             regional          Inclusion

RSYD         Partnership for   * Consultation    * Donor
             Development                         Influenced

                               * Protection      * Direct and
                                                 Indirect Youth
                               * UNICEF

                               * Partnership     Consultation

                               * Socio-

Phase 4: Towards Youth Inclusion as Creation of Model Citizens
(post 2010)

CCYD         * Success of      * Youth Adult     Youth-Adult
Report       CSME              Partnership       Partnership

             * Threat of
             loss of GDP

2010         * Success of      * Participation
Paramaribo   CSME
                               * Youth-Adult

             * To strengthen   * Empowerment
             the RSYD
                               * Mainstreaming

CYDAP        Sustainability    * Youth-Adult     * Participatory
             of Region and     Partnership

                               * Participation   * Youth

             Success of CSME   * Consultation    * Donor

                               * Mainstreaming

                               * Human Rights
                               Based Approach

                               * Asset-Based

                               * Evidence-
                               Based Approach

                               * Heterogeneous

Table 3: Selected Socio-Ecomunic Indicators en
CARICOM Youth, 1980-2012

Indicators              -1980   1990       2004    2010       2012

% Total Youth           20.5    20.5 (1)   14.82   19.6 (3)
Population 15-24 yrs
(or 10-24 years)

% Unemployment Youth            25.4               22.1
Labour Force 15-24
yrs (male) (4)

% Unemployment Youth            35.6               33.8
Labour Force 15-24
yrs (female)

% HIV Prevalence of                                            0.65
Youth 15-24 yrs
(males) (5)

% HIV Prevalence of                                            0.8
Youth 15-24 yrs

% Youth Literacy                                              91.8
15-24 yrs (6)

(1) Caribbean Region Youth Population 15-24 years for 1960, 1970,
1980, 1990 from (Lewis and Carter 1995, vii).

(2) Data on Youth 15-24 years from Caribbean Human Development Report
on Citizen security on 7 countries-Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados,
Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago (UNDP

(3) Estimate of youth ages 10-24 years in the CARICOM region from
CARICOM Commission on Youth Development.

(4) Estimated unemployment average calculated for males and females
of 8 countries--The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica,
Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago from data for 1990-1992 and 2009-2012
(World Bank 2014)

(5) Estimated HIV prevalence average calculated for males and females
of 8 countries from World Bank Databank: World Development Indicators
(World Bank, 2014)

(6) Estimated average youth literacy rate of 5 countries--Guyana,
Haiti, Jamaica, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago-from 2014 UNDP Human
Development Report (UNDP 2014)

Table 4: The CARICOM Youth Development Goals

Dimension of Youth          Goal

Education and Economic      Enhance the quality of life and
Empowerment                 livelihood opportunities for all
                            adolescents and youth

Protection, Safety and      Enable the creation of protective
Security                    environments to foster resilience
                            and ensure adolescent and youth
                            safety and security

Health and Wellbeing        Improve the health and holistic
                            well-being of adolescents and youth

Culture, Identity and       Enhance the development and
Citizenship                 appreciation of a Caribbean
                            culture, identity and commitment to
                            regional integration

Policy and Institutional    Create the policy and institutional
Framework                   environment and mechanisms to
                            support effective national and
                            regional implementation of the

Leadership, Participation   Ensure and enhance youth
and Governance              participation at all levels of
                            decision making, programme
                            implementation and oversight
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