"Are Guyana's leaders genuinely serious about youth development?"July 4th, 2011
Progress towards a National Youth Policy for Guyana is painfully slow despite the opportunity created by the United Nations’ International Year of Youth, writes 27-year-old Commonwealth Correspondent Mark Anthony Ross.
It’s almost the end of the International Year of Youth 2010-2011, a year which was designated by the United Nations General Assembly in Resolution A/RES/64/134 under the theme ‘Dialogue and Mutual Understanding’.
Yet, the government of Guyana which leads a country with a youth bulge in its population has not done anything significant to observe the year.
Guyana has a minister of youth in parliament and in cabinet, yet to date all that has been done to mark the year are annual activities which have been held over the last decade or so.
It is tantamount to disrespect and outright hypocrisy for a country which celebrated having one of the youngest leaders in the western hemisphere in 2001 – President Bharrat Jagdeo.
Promises were made to young people over a decade and a half ago to implement and integrate youth in policymaking and decisions at the highest levels of governance. This was promised through the National Youth Policy which was supposed to be completed years ago. Years later, the administration of Guyana has not fulfilled its promise to its youth to have this important document.
Young people have continuously called for the document to be finalized yet to date the only explanation forthcoming is that it is in draft stages and will be completed shortly. Consultants were hired by government with support from the United Nations Development Programme but this proved useless as the document could not be used even after paying millions to compile.
It is sad that even though the youth population is increasing, as are the problems they face, the government seems least worried about the brain drain the country suffers from. Leaders continuously speak of continuous training of youth in nursing, teaching, and engineering, etc, without addressing the issues of unemployment and crime.
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