Opposition Senator, Shevern John has expressed concern about the inactivity of the National Youth Council, or any other umbrella organization to champion the cause of youths in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).
Senator John shared her views on Sunday November 20 as she delivered the feature address at the Convention of the New Democratic Party (NDP) Youth Arm.
Noting that the young people are the future, John quoted the motto of the National Youth Council, “youth the present answer to the future,” and lamented that the organisation has been dormant for almost two decades.
“The National Youth Council of St Vincent and the Grenadines has been dormant for more than 15 years, and this is a crying shame,” because “with the majority of the population being young people…there is no active youth council to represent them.”
Senator John alleged that young people in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) are being suppressed and abused and that the NYC was systematically dismantled by the powers that be.
“It is the NYC that modelled most of our national leaders, including ministers of government, “ the NDP senator stressed.
John who is also the NDP’s caretaker in the constituency of North Windward also pointed out that her colleague, NDP Senator Israel Bruce, is a former president of the National Youth Council of St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Apart from the absence of an active NYC, John complained that “many of our schools still don’t have student councils…and we certainly don’t have a national student council.”
She said that these organisations were all active under the former New Democratic Party administration.
The senator added that the NDP recognizes the importance of these organizations and “will make it a priority to re-establish these bodies and to support them” when it is again elected into office.
Sunday’s Youth Arm convention was held under the theme “My Decision, My Future.”
Also addressing the gathering at Democrat House party leader, Dr Godwin Friday said nobody should ever underestimate the impact which the youths make, or the difference which they can make.
“No one should put any obstacles in your way; and those who do, if they can’t lend a helping hand, then they need to get out of the way.”
While stating that it is important to talk to young people, Friday said “I believe it is even more important for us to listen, especially those of us from my generation.”
The Opposition Leader admonished the youths to speak, and not to allow anybody to shut them up.
He also spoke about the problem of unemployment among the youth, stating that unemployment shuts them out from the working world.
And the party leader called on youths to develop skills to be active leaders.
“I urge you, be a leader in your community, take an interest in what is happening around you.”
Friday also called on the youths to “make the change happen.”
At the convention last Sunday, a new executive was elected into office, to run the affairs of the NDP Youth Arm.
The new executive is: president, Vakeesha John; vice president Esteban Richard Hernandez; secretary, Kimisha Ollivierre; Treasurer, Alicia Lavia; and public relations officer, Damien Dasouza.