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Let’s embrace love this Independence

Let’s embrace love this Independence


by MICHAEL JOHNSON-President of the National Youth Council.

My Fellow Youths and other Vincentians, I bring you greetings from my executive and affiliates of the National Youth Council of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

As this country celebrates 27 years of political Independence, I wish on behalf of the Council to congratulate the government and people of this blessed nation for their achievements thus far. I hope that with God’s continued guidance and blessings we would accomplish much more as a nation and that the lives of our people are enhanced.{{more}}

As youths we continue to ask how important is this country’s Independence to us? What have we achieved since 1979? Are we better off now than 27 years ago? Are young people given more opportunities today than ever before? Are more young people able to access jobs? As president of the nations premiere youth institutions I am challenging the young people of this nation to reflect purposefully on these questions, the answers will provide you with a good sense of where we are and the type of progress that we have made over the last 27 years.

As we reflect on the past, be attentive to the present and make critical and logical decisions for the future. As youths let us be more a disciplined and kindhearted people. Rather than starting a fight and disrespecting each other especially our elderly let’s give a helping hand, learn to forgive and cultivate love rather than hatred.

As a people our socialization must embrace a high degree of moderation, so as to ensure that we stay clear of the boundaries of social ills that befall us as young people from time to time.

We must recognize that the many issues that affect young people are multifaceted and that no single service can deal with them alone, and as I stated last year in another message, this requires a co-ordinated response based on an audit of existing services, partnership between voluntary organizations, with business and industry, and with different areas of the private sector. It may require some redistribution of consolidation of existing programmes and budgets. Not least, services need to be shaped by the views of young people themselves and by their direct involvement in delivering services to their peers. We need to provide youth friendly communities.

The theme for this year’s independence celebrations “Celebrating our Vincentian Identity” is indeed a timely one, for years we have been struggling to “find our Vincentian identity” be it culturally or otherwise, but how do we identify with something or someone about whom we know very little or nothing in some cases. Nevertheless we are grateful for the efforts being made to engender this kind of consciousness among our people.

This 27th year of independence must not go unnoticed, as we face the many challenges

each day, let’s not ignore them; I speak of issues concerning crime and violence especially among our young people, the most recent being last weekend. The NYC has been and continues to be vocal on this issue and appeals to our young people to stop the violence now and engage yourselves in meaningful activities which would elevate your lives. We need to be our brother’s keeper in these terrible times.

The issue of HIV/AIDS is also of great concern. Statistics show 20 new cases of HIV for the period January to March this year. The concern is that if we are not mindful we can lose our most important resource, which is our youthful population, the same statistics show that for the same period, persons between the age group 25-29 are the most affected. The NYC will continue with its education drive programmes, and partner with other relevant authorities as we seek for a more collective approach to curb this epidemic. We also need to stop the stigma and discrimination and our sexual habits need to change if there is to be any forward movement in curbing this serious illness.

I therefore urge all of us as young people to stick to our formidable task with vigilance, pride and common sense, seek God’s face and He will direct our path.

May God richly bless us as we reflect on our nation’s rich history and strive to build on what we have for our next generation.

Thank you.