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Our youth, our symbol of hope

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For all my life, I have been convinced that a man’s natural duty, besides honouring his Creator, is to empower himself, so that he can assist in the development of the humanity which evolves around him. This belief is founded on the biblical principle that a man must love his neighbour as he loves himself, and in so doing he should work in the best interest of not only himself but in the interest of the whole.{{more}} It should therefore never be about the vanity wrapped up in selfishness; instead it must be a genuine considerate effort concerned in building “us” as a group, and not simply “me” as an individual. It is with this in mind that our youth must demand with the greatest sense of urgency that we band ourselves together and take the youth cause and the cause of our nation forward.

I openly thank the Unity Labour Party administration for offering me the opportunity to serve at the level of a Senator and Parliamentary Secretary, and my pledge is to serve my people to the best of my ability. At this point I am no less convinced that my objectivity is central to my effectiveness and future success. I accept the challenge that there is a need to raise the bar in many aspects of our political culture and I will do my best to attain such ends.

Our struggle today as a people is for a change which is real and not merely cosmetic. The education revolution is the point source to be used to equip ourselves to realize, formalize and embrace the many positive changes which we both see and need to encourage. We have some fighting days ahead as a people, we have a series of battles we must win if we are to keep our fire burning. We must love all our brothers and sisters but hate the wrongs that they do. Our youth must nationally demonstrate in a tireless effort that we are serious about ensuring that we form ourselves into an exceptional cadre of multitalented youth who will be capable of governing the affairs of our nation in the not too distant future.

Our youth must work alongside the policy makers in redefining the factors fundamental for true and real youth development. Our voice is our truest chance at making a contribution to the process. It is with this being proposed as an attainable goal that the Ministry concerned with Youth Affairs must ensure that at the soonest practicable date that a comprehensive national youth consultation is done dealing with the core issues affecting the Vincentian youth. If we are to succeed we must be admonished by the book of Hebrews, which instructs that we must “hold fast to the profession of our faith without wavering”.

What is our patriotic duty as Vincentian youth? How can we best demonstrate that we are a youthful force focused on creating a unique Vincentian identity, dedicated on making St. Vincent and the Grenadines a force to be reckoned with in the region, and in the world? The movement can no longer be delayed.

Our efforts will be fruitful once grounded in our inner potential and ability to conquer and move forward. Our youth must compel our non-governmental organizations and national policy makers to lead the developmental process forward.

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. There is an immediate urgency.

It is now commonly accepted that the youth of our nation constitute the largest and ablest sector of our national population. It is clear and without question that any government policy or action which seeks overtly or covertly to isolate or marginalise young people can only retard the development of a nation. Today our nation has in countless ways and through countless young persons and youth organizations 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. This trend must continue.

If one is to analyze 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.

I will continue to firmly advise that 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 developmental 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 resources.

It is a fact that our nation’s youth are leaving for institutions of higher learning in droves. I see a great 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 zealously towards 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 utilize 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. Why must we wait?

Saboto Caesar is a lawyer and Unity Labour Party Senator.

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