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I apologise, NYC – Autonomous group organisations needed!

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Fri, Sept. 02, 2011

Editor: I humbly apologise to the National Youth Council (NYC) and its constituents for claiming that the National Student Council (NSC) of the 1990s was initiated by Israel Bruce and Collin Haywood, teachers of the North Union Secondary School. The error was committed during editing in an effort to maintain relevance and clarity in advancing the claim for the harmonisation of existing school rules.{{more}} As a result, the NYC’s contribution was deliberately withdrawn for a follow-up article. The offending sentences should have read thus:

“I speak with authority on this issue since the formation of the North Union Secondary School (NUSS) Student Council was initiated by Israel Bruce and Collin Haywood. As a measure of his leadership capacity, Harvey Graham became the first president of the NUSS and the NSC!” The intent was to promote Mr Graham, a product of the school’s student union, as a stimulus for the revitalisation of the NSC. Aspiring student leaders should be motivated by Mr Graham’s outstanding leadership achievements, especially in the field of insurance management.

In his response to my claim, Mr Curtis King (former NYC president) dealt with the issue in a professional and dignified manner. In fact, the opportunity allowed him to chronicle the genesis of the NSC in a comprehensive overview which highlighted the pivotal role played by the NYC in this venture. The role played by the NYC in shaping the lives of Vincentian youths for over four decades cannot be over-emphasized. Indeed, beneficiaries in all national strata can attest to the NYC’s sterling contribution in capacity building-leadership training, inter-personal skills, group dynamics and project management.

Unfortunately, the vagaries of the system (political, social and religious) ushered in an individualistic society which aided the decline of group-oriented expression. The defunct (is it?) NYC is a casualty of such a system laced with political interference, individualism and religious anarchy. The subsequent fallout is parallel with the spike in juvenile criminality, the depletion in youth norms and values and the unyielding clutches of undesirable foreign cultural domination. Isn’t it painstakingly obvious that the absence of supportive group structures to aid in the holistic development of the Vincentian youth is detrimental to national development?

For peace of mind, I daydream of village leaders revisiting the formation of community group organisations. This will knit groups and rekindle community spirit while allowing their members to express themselves in various skills and disciplines. Ultimately, a resuscitated NYC can then initiate a national membership drive with emphasis on developing an autonomous national youth organisation. Sadly, this is nigh impossible, given the prevailing political culture of emasculating all independent organisations. Of course, I am day-dreaming!

Fortunately, the revitalisation of the National Student Council is feasible, given the autonomy in leadership and student power in many schools. Therefore, the formation of student councils should be a priority of all secondary schools during the imminent school year. I agree with Mr King that these organisations will contribute to students’ development and, ultimately, national success. However, school leaders must strive to build awareness among their culturally confused students of the role student unions can play to change the present debilitating school ethos.

I conclude by echoing sincerest apologies to the NYC for the anxiety and alarm my inaccurate claim may have caused. Thanks, Mr King, for it is against my nature to take credit for another man’s work. On the contrary, I was trained to give credit where it is due.

Collin CA$H Haywood

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