Here am I endeavouring to regain my mental composure, after an unexpected encounter with a déjà vu situation.
Kaieteur News, August 29, 2016 captioned “Coalition reneged on election promises to young Guyanese.” The plight was all summed up in the caption, and nothing further needs to be said.
On February 18, 2014 the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport (MCYS) held a symposium for senior officials from the public sector, civil society and development agencies. In his address, the Minister pointed out that for a long time efforts have been made to upgrade the youth policy in the past, in this regard what was relevant then may not be today while some may persist. The purpose of the symposium was to determine achievable strategies, interventions, and multi-stakeholder implementation responses that would produce successful outcomes for young people in Guyana. Note for whom specifically. Sadly this did not hold true and the word youth was treated as a nomadic misnomer. The young people have now become the down people.
In October 2014, I personally penned a letter in the Kaieteur News entitled “Who speaks for the young people”, imploring the leaders of the political parties to include the youth in their campaign promises. The turnout of youth at the last election was unprecedented, and the government’s scrapping of the Ministry of Culture Youth and Sport and making it a department of the Ministry of Education, besides being evident deception and an affront to the youth, also smacks of sublime asininity.
In the play Damon & Pythias by Richard Edwardes, Pythagoras states that this world was like a stage, “Whereon many play their parts; the lookers-on, the sage, philosophers are, saith he, whose part is to learn, The manners of all nations, and the good from the bad to discern.” Currently on the stage in Guyana, the sage is visibly absent and the lookers have so much yet to learn as they attempt good from bad to discern. How much is the current government doing not only to hold true to their campaign promises, but also to stick to their theme of Celebrate, Reflect and Inspire. Incidentally, or would that be prophetically, C R I as an acronym, it is the French word for scream or cry.
The youth is the future, the building blocks of tomorrow, an important target group, for handing over of the baton is inevitable, and valuing youth as being equal members of Guyanese society, as contributors both now and in the future, changes the dynamic between youth and adults and establishes the foundation for a healthier and more productive relationship.
Having thus said, I will task the government with providing an answer to the following question, if the youth are our future, what about the future of the youth? There is absolutely no room for disconnection, for it will ultimately prove fatal.
I am calling on the Government, youth agencies, youth leaders, community workers and the Guyanese populace at large to lobby until visible and satisfactory measures are put in place to assure that the youth are able to maintain their rightful place in society and look forward with hope to the future. Remember if the words in the promise don’t add up, it is simply because truth was never in the equation.
And to close with the final three lines of Act 2 Scene V11 – Shakespeare’s As You Like It—All the world’s a stage:
“Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
As I exit the stage, I once again repeat: Tell the truth, who speaks for the youth. What will the future for them hold, when from the stage has exited the old.”