Senator Keisal Peters, who, on Friday, became the first female and youngest Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is urging the nation’s youth to know what they are about.
“To the young people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, we live in a time where it is easy to be distracted by many things that may be designed to derail your purpose and your dreams and your hopes and aspirations,” she said at her swearing-in ceremony at Government House, in Kingstown.
Peters, a 36-year-old lawyer, was appointed a senator for the ruling Unity Labour Party and Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in November 2020.
On Friday, she was promoted to a full minister, replacing Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves as the nation’s chief diplomat.
“But I want to encourage the young people to know what you are about and be what you are about,” Peters said.
“Be unwavering in the pursuit of your dreams. And, to some extent, you should be unapologetic in the pursuit of your dreams and be uncompromising in the pursuit of your dreams. Know what you are about and be what you are about.”
She told the nation’s youth that in all their interactions with people “you must be unequivocal, meaning you must be clear. No doubt must be left as to who you are and what you intend to do and what you intend to achieve in life.
“Because there are people who will try to lead you down a path of unrighteousness. And you would be wise not to do it. So you have to know what you are about and stay focused.”
Peters also had a message for the nation’s women and girls.
“… this historical day is your day, as much as it is mine. And I want you to be a part of it. I want you to relish in it. And I want you to celebrate what has happened here today.”
She said her personal motto is “I aspire to inspire before I expire.”
“… at some point we will all leave here. And we hope that when we leave here we leave a country with a solid foundation for the younger generation to carry on.”
The senator said she has “tried, for the better part of my life, to be an example and to be a role model for young women and young people in general and women.
“And I want to thank the women who over the last few weeks have reached out to me, have encouraged me, have defended me, both publicly and privately and, most importantly, constantly, I want to thank you.
“And I want to thank the many persons, some who have met virtually, some who I’ve known for years, some who I’ve met since my appointment and in various interactions.
“I want to thank you for your words of encouragement, for reminding me to stay focused, and to keep my eyes on the prize,” she said.
Peters said the “irony” is that she is usually the one encouraging people to stay focused.
“But that advice came to me strongly, swiftly, consistently over the last few weeks. And I thank you for the encouragement.”
She said that the country’s interest “will be at the forefront always as far as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade is concerned, as far as Cabinet is concerned.
“We take decisions and sometimes we have to make the very hard decisions. But leaders have to lead.”
The senator said it is a difficult period for the country.
“In fact, the entire world is going through a difficult period. And we have to work together because I genuinely believe that all of us, even with political differences, we love our country. So I would encourage us to work together.”
She said that the prime minister “has resurrected the word, “respair”.
“And we do tease him about it in Cabinet but the word has been resurrected.”