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Youth and Civil Society engagement

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What is the meaning of civil society to our youth? What will our young people be taking into the second decade of the 21st century as it relates to youth participation in non-governmental organisations, community groups, self-help groups, women’s organisations and faith based organisations? Or are we living in a more selfish world where we have allowed the personal distractions of everyday life to dampen our spirit of volunteerism?{{more}}

While we must plan for our personal development, and in so doing set goals for the advancement of one’s self, it is, however, wholly necessary and desirable to direct the mind to begin to think as a group and unselfishly, in a bid to fashion the development of our youth as a collective. It is clearly in this environment that major issues of youth stewardship are given birth.

In order to create a national setting to bring out the best in our youth, we must set up both functioning youth groups and linkages to these groups which will embrace expressions based on intentions which are artistic; some grounded in music and drama; some in general youth development; specific sporting activities and other issues touching and concerning youth progression. This will have the result of unlocking the necessary potential energies needed to develop our society holistically.

Is there a common youth cause in SVG? Are we working towards one? What will this generation of young people be remembered for? Every generation will leave its mark. What will be your mark as a young person? In order for our society to nurture this generation of young people and generations to come, indeed we must ensure that there is a properly planned, structured and executed system in place, so that we can bring about a greater awareness which will clearly explain the role of civil society in national development. In so doing, we will ensure that the Vincentian Youth dream is not a mere function and extension of a farfetched American Dream. Our circumstances are different and we must not allow our identity to loose its authenticity. What would be the consequences if a Vincentian fifteen year old is to emulate wholesale an American child of the same age? Our causes are dissimilar, the circumstances are grossly unrelated, and the realities are unconnected for the most part.

I hope that as youth we are not stating falsely to ourselves that we have achieved it all. We have not. In fact, we are far from completion. The cause evolves. It is a constantly changing synthesis of ideas, thoughts, dreams and aspirations, so we must continuously change with the changing times.

Every living person has an important 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. Our returning university students, for instance, must ensure that they play a part in assisting in the consolidation of the gains of the education revolution. Each one must teach one and every one has something to offer to the process.

It is without question that the faces in the building process will change, but the cause will remain. The political ideology used to foster this advancement will evolve. However, the need to strengthen and fuse our efforts will never die.

The intention today should not be to divide ourselves into classes. We are too small to be further divided. It should be about ensuring that we have a clear picture of our national cause, and a properly articulated method of achieving our target. We have a nation to build. The divisions practiced daily on our nation’s radio stations by some are purely intended to multiply our chances at failing. Our youth must not follow this sought of unprincipled fashion which appears to be flourishing under the guise of free speech. In many instances, it is a preaching of free ignorance. Instead, we must properly research our work and take it to the airwaves guarded with our information to defend our cause. In other words, we must stand for what is right. Our efforts must be used to do good!

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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