Sad week for the National Youth Council

THIS week was perhaps the saddest on record for the National Youth Council of Saint Lucia as it grapples with allegations of a sexual nature concerning one of its executive members. However, determined to get to the bottom of these accusations, the Council launched what it called “a full investigation” into them.

The Council described the investigation as a fact-finding mission that was agreed upon by its General Council, the executive member in question and legal counsel for both sides.

“Recognizing the need to maintain integrity, transparency and ensure the confidence of our constituents and stakeholders, an in-depth investigation will be launched in the coming weeks,” the Council noted in a statement issued shortly after the meeting. its members at a special meeting on Wednesday. .

“Based on a majority vote, it was concluded that a safeguard process will be adopted and implemented immediately to ensure fairness and justice to all parties involved while continuing our mandate to promote the good- be young people in diverse backgrounds and interests, ”the Council said. .

According to the Council, the investigation is expected to end on June 25, 2021. It will be managed by an independent committee made up of a pillar of the National Youth Council of Saint Lucia, a professional qualified and experienced in handling cases involving children. sexual and human rights allegations and a qualified third party in legal proceedings.

“The committee will report its findings to the General Council; and advise on what to do next. At the end of this investigative process, the General Council will be in a better position to make a more informed decision on the governance of the organization, ”the Council said.

At the extraordinary meeting of the General Council on May 12, the executive member in question, in the interests of fairness, agreed to proceed immediately to a leave of absence and to be relieved of all executive duties and privileges for the duration of the l ‘investigation. Notwithstanding this, the General Council has the power to reconvene at any time to decide the final outcome of the situation.

“The (general) body has agreed to be guided by the findings of the independent investigation to adhere to best international practice. In line with our responsibility to serve and protect young people, the National Youth Council of Saint Lucia has agreed to provide psychosocial support to parties directly affected by the situation, ”the council said, adding that within the framework of the standards adopted internationally, it will incorporate capacity building exercises that will better equip members to serve young people in areas such as, but not limited to, child protection, confidentiality, crisis management and constitutional reform.

“In addition, we will introduce a standard office use protocol that will ensure the safety and well-being of every young person who relies on our head office as a safe space. Reassures us to our constituents and stakeholders of a fair and thorough process which aims to bring a swift resolution to the problem and to continue the development agenda of the National Youth Council of Saint Lucia, ”concluded the Council statement on its actions so far since allegations of misconduct within its walls became public.