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Youth and national development

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What is our patriotic duty as youth? What does it mean to be a Vincentian youth interested in national development? What can we do as a youthful force to foster a unique Vincentian identity, which evolves into a formidable force producing sufficient energy to up-lift our national consciousness? These are a few questions that we must begin to ask ourselves on a regular basis.{{more}}

As a youthful force, we shall surely make it if we only try a little harder. Our efforts will be fruitful once grounded in the deep-seated faith which, within us, is the ability to conquer and move forward. Our youth will forever be an increasingly compelling subject for study in our churches, community based organisations, non-governmental organisations and by policy makers. It is arguable that a body of youth receptive to constructive admonition may very well be in the best position to define social change. This is based on the relative advantage of our youth to engage the social imagination of our times and in so doing contribute to bridging the generational gap which surfaces in various sectors of our society. In brief, a well-organised body of youth is an important construct critical to the development of any people.

We the people of African, Indian, Chinese and Portuguese ancestry who now reside in the Americas are by all means a transplanted people. Indeed, it is safe to state that we were transplanted from our motherlands to take up permanent occupancy in a new world. In the case of dispossessed Africans, it was an act of total coercion without discount. The dimensions of the exploitation of our mother lands, the transshipment of a people physically coerced or mentally constrained, and the seasoning into a new society must all be considered as events orchestrated to demoralise our people, with the intention of ensuring social control.

The question was asked by a Form Five student of the Intermediate High School at a recent seminar hosted by Projects Promotion to address the topic “The Caribbean future: our people’s post-colonial enterprise”, as to the role that the Vincentian youth is expected to play as we pursue the systematic construction of a modern competitive post colonial economy. This article is not intended to particularise all the roles of our youth as it relates to national development, but simply to create the awareness that we have a patriotic duty to build our society.

It is now commonly accepted that the youth of our nation constitute the largest and ablest sector of our national population. It is, therefore, clear and without question that any government policy or action which seeks overtly or covertly to isolate or maginalise young people can only retard the development of a nation. Today our nation has in countless ways and through countless young persons and youth organisations exhibited that we will spare no effort in ensuring that the talents of our young people are positively engaged in the process of national development.

If one is to analyse the ascension of our nation’s youth to positions of great esteem in recent times, it is clear that the approach to entrust confidence in our youth is more than a one off event; instead it is a clear national policy.

Our nation’s ability to follow a sustainable development path is determined to a large extent by the capacity of its people and its institutions to critically address the prerequisites which guide social, political and economic achievement. It is in this light that our communities must at all times be seen as fundamental institutions in the development process. In this regard, our youth must be willing to play a critical role in nation building since we form an extremely important part of our nation’s human resource.

Our nation is slipping backwards every time someone is on our radio speaking from an uninformed position. Our youth must be extremely careful in their distillation of the fact from fiction. We must not allow anyone to discourage our thrust to actively defend the truth. There will be choirs of mischief makers singing in our ears that as youth we must “keep-out”. However, we must not allow anyone to destroy the present of which we are the future leaders.

It is a fact that our nation’s youth are leaving for institutions of higher learning in droves. I see a day coming when we will have invested in our youth product so heavily that we will become a regional academic satellite. That is a dream we must work extremely hard to realize with the sole intent of lifting national pride. It is only by adopting such an approach through the implementation of policies and programmes geared towards youth development that we can readily utilise the abundant resources of our youth, their energy and that of our people.

Every young person will have a part to play in the process if our nation is to move forward. We must be the generation that ensures that political partisanship does not hinder the advancement of our people. We have a nation to build. To my mind, the more hands we have on deck working in a cohesive sense would ensure that the job is made easier. We must reclaim and rebuild a pride in our ancestry. “Until the victory, always!”

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