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Minister’s Message

As the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis continues its push to make the Federation the first Sustainable Island State, the Ministry of Social Development and Gender Affairs has a critical role to play as one of the key stakeholders of the Federation is its people. The safety, security, protection and development of the citizens of the Federation form part of the foundational role and function of the Ministry.

Organizational Development

The Ministry has approved its inaugural five-year Strategic Plan following a fully consultative process with staff. The theme for the Strategic Plan is “The Season of Growth: to Reflect, Reform and Forge Ahead.” Building on the last twenty-one years of existence, cognizant of the regional and international best practices for promoting inclusivity, equity and resilience, the next five years for the Ministry will be focused on the following:

a. Organizational Development

b. Workplace Safety and Security

c. Learning and Growth for the Staff

d. Operational Excellence

e. Programme and Service Implementation, Delivery and Management

f. Promotion and Awareness Raising

g. Advocacy

h. Financial Stability

All of these will work hand in hand to realize the new vision for the Ministry, which is “to deliver targeted people-centered services, with a spirit of professionalism, compassion and innovation to ALL!”

Legislative Agenda

The Ministry will be pursuing a supportive legislative agenda designed to address long-standing and new issues affecting staff’s ability to perform effectively. These issues include, but are not limited to:

a. Adjusting the age of sexual consent to align with the age of majority.

b. Reforms to the Family Suite of Legislations: Child Justice, Child Care and Adoptions, Maintenance and Guardianship, Custody and Access to Children.

c. Enactment of legislation that re-establishes chargeable infractions for adults who hamper, impede, coerce, or harbour juveniles, in situations determined not to be in their best interest.

d. Enactment of a new Social Protection Act. Regional Support:

The Opportunities to Advance and Support Youth for Success Program (OASYS), sponsored by USAID and implemented by the OECS Commission will build on the twenty (20) year experience of the Juvenile Justice Reform Project (JJRP) to:

a. Address the lack of regulations and protocols guiding formal pre-charge and pre-trial diversion and alternative sentencing procedures.

b. Develop and/or strengthen appropriate alternative and reintegration options like vocational training, drug counseling, and community service with government or nongovernment partners. c. Strengthen case and data management systems to track the progress of youth following detainment and inform evidenced-based decision making on youth justice interventions.

Department of Probation and Child Protection Services

This Department is to be more responsive to its mandate of ensuring that the rights of all children are known, observed, applied, and enforced granting them the opportunities to realize their fullest potential.

I use this opportunity to express our continued gratitude and thanks to the regional and international partners whose technical support and financing is critical to the work of the individual Departments of the Ministry. These partners include, but are not limited to UNICEF, PAHO, USAID, UN Women, UNDP, UN-ECLAC and the OECS Commission.

I also pause to place on record our profound thanks to our local partners PALS, A Time for Us Foundation, The Garden of Rebirth, The Children’s Home, The Bar Association, The Rotary Clubs of St. Kitts and Liamuiga, The National Association for Persons with Disabilities, our Gender Champions and the numerous other individuals and agencies who donated their time, skills and resources to the care and support for the most vulnerable in our society.

Hon. Isalean C Phillip                                                                                                                                     
Junior Minister of Social Development and Gender Affairs