November 16, 2007
NYC not dormant

The National Youth Council (NYC) has described the selection process that named the Mount Pleasant Educational Social and Cultural Organization (MPESCO) as the 2007 Community Youth Group of the Year disrespectful. They are also upset by recent comments by the Director of Youth Affairs in the Ministry of Youth that the organization is “dormant”.{{more}}

In a news release issued by the NYC on Wednesday, President Michael Johnson questions the authority of the local Peace Corps organization to select the winning group in that category, a task, which he said, over the years has been delegated to the Council.

Johnson said that since 2005, the recommendations of the NYC have been overlooked by the youth department, prompting the council executive to refrain from making a nomination for the National Youth Awards this year.

Johnson alleges that this year’s winner was selected by the Peace Corps, an organization he said, has no authority to make such a selection.

When Searchlight contacted the Youth Department, Deputy Director Sylvester King indicated that MPESCO was not selected by the Peace Corps, but in fact, was nominated by them.

He said that other organizations also nominated MPESCO, which met the criteria. The group was then selected as winner by the National Youth Commission.

Some of the criteria for the community youth group award include the group’s contribution to the community, consistency and the group’s level of activity.

King said that when it comes to nomination and selection, over the years nothing has changed, the only difference is that the NYC did not take part in the process this time around.

The absence of the NYC may have prompted Youth Director Carlos Williams to declare that the council is dormant, and could no longer claim to be the legitimate youth representative body in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Speaking at the National Youth Awards ceremony, Williams called on the Council to be more vibrant, and said that its presence needed to be felt in the country.

Johnson, in the NYC release refuted the statements, saying the Council is not dormant, but just going through a phase.

Johnson stated that the council is going through a restructuring process, and is working closely with several youth groups in an effort to recreate youth activism and build a culture of participatory governance by the people.

The council was scheduled to hold a meeting in Stubbs last evening with a number of groups in the area.

The National Youth Council celebrated 41 years of existence this year. Elections to put in place a new executive are scheduled for February 2008.