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Youth place Country before Party

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“We are not here to discuss matters concerning party politics; we are here to talk about national business. And we ought to draw the distinction early o’ clock, this is not about party, it is about love for your country,” – those were the sentiments of a group of young ladies who attended a gathering I attended this week.{{more}}

It is indeed a pleasure to hear so many of our young people, be it on radio, discussing in the streets; at consultations and even writing in newspapers repeat that in this critical period of constitutional reform we must all place Country before party.

It is a positive sign that our youth are encouraged and willing and ready to join this GREAT CAUSE for constitutional reform at the highest level. It brings about an overwhelming feeling and I will like to specially welcome every young person to this continued national dialogue.

Today, something is happening in our Country; today, something is happening in our land. there is a cry for Constitutional Reform and it is being heard throughout our nation. Our people are saying we want to be free in every material respect from a constitution which still shackles us to many forms of colonialism.

We obtained our national independence in 1979, and today we boast, and rightfully so, of a National Flag; a National anthem; we have a National Bird; we have a national flower; a national Dish; and a national pledge; but in the year 2009, thirty years after receiving our national independence, we still cannot call the Constitution our OWN.

How do we define ourselves as the youth in the process? The young people of SVG, we constitute the bulk of the economically active age group. The young men and women of SVG, we are the future farmers, pastors, teachers, nurses, businessmen, doctors, lawyers and Parliamentarians. We are the building blocks of our NATION! The future challenges of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are the challenges that we MUST CONQUER. The greater the challenges the harder we must work.

As the youth, we must never take our freedom lightly, for in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines there was a period of time when our young people were enslaved. There was a time when we did not have our freedom as young people to move through this country as we do today; we worked but were never paid; we were owned as property by a MASSA! Those are the facts. Our fight for Constitutional reform is indeed the continuation of a fight for freedom.

The young people of SVG we are saying that we deserve a document which will allow us to fully take ownership of our sovereignty.

This week I encourage every young person to please read the following areas in the proposed new constitution:

Read Clause 19: “Due appreciation is to be accorded to young persons for their contribution to nation-building.”

Read Clause 20: “Every young person has the right to educational, social, cultural and vocational enhancement, including a right to fair opportunity for responsible participation in national development.”

A vote “YES”, is a vote for more rights for our young people.

Read Clause 22: “Protection of children” – Children are entitled to the protection of the rights of the child as expressed in relevant international treaties.

Read Clause 68(b): Composition of parliament – qualification to be a member of Parliament. The new Constitution will permit persons to stand as candidates in elections at the age of eighteen (18) years, instead of the present minimum age of twenty-one (21) years. Empowerment to the Youth!

Our youth must remain positive in the campaign for constitutional reform. We must stand today and be counted! Forward ever backward never!

St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a nation where dreams are realised. No matter how humble our beginnings are, once we are focussed, we can achieve every goal we wish to achieve. Constitutional reform is realisable. There are examples of thousands of young persons in SVG who through hard work and dedication were able to lift their heads above water, rise to the greatest occasions and shine excellently. Yes we can do it.

On November 25th, 2009, we the youth of SVG will have a very important meeting with history. We will be asked two simple questions, and we must make one important answer. Let us use our power wisely!

Let’s vote yes for a constitution which embodies the hopes and dreams of our ancestors. Let’s vote yes for a constitution which will allow us to make a quantum leap towards the development of an authentic jurisprudence. Let’s leave the politics out of it.

By voting yes, you allow light to shine over darkness, and knowledge to shine over ignorance. I enjoyed how one young lady said it at a recent debate on the issue of constitutional reform that on your birth certificate you do not see ULP, or NDP, you see Saint Vincent and the Grenadines -SVG.

That’s why we are sounding A BATTLE CRY! Do not be distracted! Do not be led astray! Place your Country before your party.

For love of country VOTE YES! YES WE MUST! Vote Yes for Progress!

Saboto Caesar is a Lawyer and Unity Labour Party Senator, now serving as Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture etc.

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