Full Disclosure
July 25, 2008
Youth as vessels of honour

If one is to honestly assess the work of the youth in our nation, one will safely conclude that although there may be critical areas for improvement, our youth are doing considerably well. In recent times, there has been an added zest among our young people to excel and to improve their performance in their respective fields.{{more}} It is July going onto August, and the buzz on the streets has something to do with returning to University, securing a bond for study, adjusting to cope with challenges, be it financial or otherwise, signing up for evening classes of some sort, volunteerism and of course many of the fun things that youth enjoy.

It is almost becoming a dream turn reality. For the past ten years the vision was awakened that there was a dire need for an “exceptional cadre of multi-talented Vincentian youth who will be able to govern, not only their lives, but the future of this blessed nation, region and the world.” Now with our chance to change the world, what is the next step? There are several commendable youth initiatives which took place in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines this month, and some which are slated for the month of August which act as prime evidence that there are significant strides being made by the youth of this nation.

New Testament Youth Convention

The recently held Youth Convention at the New Testament Church of God is noteworthy. Not only did it attract a large number of youth, but the most memorable aspect was the message both in songs and the preached word. The message, which was grounded in a confirmation that our youth must persevere if we are to achieve our aims and desires, and advance the cause of progress, acted as a timely reminder to all young persons present.

What was extremely touching was the song, “Vessels of Honour”, which is rooted in 2 Timothy 2:20-21, which states, “But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man, therefore, purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.”

It is always necessary for us to recognize the importance of the centrality of God in our quest to advance. It is even more encouraging when the youth who are the men and women of tomorrow are the ones who are willing and ready to express this conviction.

Behold the man

Intellectual discourse strategically and considerably linking personalities of the past with the present provides us with an adequate spreadsheet of circumstances which may prevent us from making many mistakes which were made in the past. It is in this light that a critical analysis of personalities such as Fidel Castro, Nelson Mandela, Obama, CLR James, Sir Arthur Lewis, Sir Fred Philips and Dr J.P Eustace can be enlightening, as the lessons learnt from their journeys and experiences assist us as we constantly reassess our circumstances. It is extremely commendable that today the Vincentian Student Association (VINSA) has it owns website, and through an initiative spearheaded by Luke Browne, Jamal Browne, and Kimsha Willaims and VINSA, that such a stimulating series of discussions can be formulated.

Over the years CARICOM has seen young persons as a vital resource in its effort to initiate social and economic changes. There are several reasons why young persons are being put at the forefront when it comes to CARICOM programming and policies. One key reason is that young people, by far, form the majority of CARICOM, hence if we are going to plan activities, we must take into consideration the youth voice or concerns about how we should address the issues.

There are several critical problems that we have faced as youth, which has been addressed at the regional level for quite some time. One of the prime issues has been the impact of HIV/AIDS on our youth.

In August 2004, addressing the youth on the final day of their four-day strategic planning workshop at Bird Rock, St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Hon. Denzil Douglas stressed the need for a strategic coordinated and sustained approach to combating the dreaded disease, noting that HIV/AIDS is prevalent among young people.

The St Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister acknowledged the vital role of the youth ambassadors in the fight against the pandemic, and pointed out that despite the wide dissemination of information on the nature and impact of the disease on the individual and society, there continues to be an increase in the incidence and spread of the virus.

Few countries now consider HIV/AIDS as only a health issue. Instead, the pandemic is now regarded as a risk to national and regional development because of the serious challenges it poses to sustaining economic activity and attracting human and financial resources. There is a clear need for increased access to care, and greater involvement of all in spreading the message of HIV/AIDS prevention.

HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death in the15-44 age group, and it is the young leaders who must become vigorous advocates particularly if we are to influence our peers. We must be part of the planning and implementing of any initiative that is geared towards stemming the spread of the virus and at all times be mindful that the time for positive action is now.

Bridging the gap

It is always good to speak about the positive youth development around us, but we must at all times remember our brothers and sisters who are not as fortunate. The group of young men and women who were not as privileged to receive the benefits which universal secondary education has to offer now; the young who currently participates in alternative lifestyles which may one day land him in prison. The minority of young persons who still cannot read and write; the teenage mother playing the role of mom and dad; the young farmer who may be discouraged by the many challenges and uncertainties facing the agricultural sector globally; that young child who may have lost his or her way at secondary school and may not have been able to attain a passable grade during the last set of exams. There resides the need for urgent assistance.

Next week’s article will assess with the view to obtain responses as to some of the ways and means by which we can reach out to many of our youth who may not like the majority of others do have a great lot to smile about.