By Kenrick Quashie
Prime Minister Gonsalves continues to show us that he is more concerned about political optics and expediency than real development.
The farce of a Prime Ministerial Advisory Council on Youth proves it.
Those of us who are old enough know that Gonsalves does not have a good reputation for taking advice from others. Further, his contempt displayed over the years lets us know that he especially WILL NOT be taking advice from such a committee.
After 22 years in office where the National Youth Council was systematically destroyed, the National Youth Policy never implemented and the idea of a National Youth Parliament was dashed away, he has now embarked on a journey to capture youth vote for the upcoming general elections.
Shame on people like Curtis King and Jimmy Prince for sitting in a cabinet that approved the setting up this committee. How could you as former NYC leaders sit in Cabinet and allow PM Gonsalves to take our brilliant young people to become actors in his political circus?
True youth representation cannot come from a committee handpicked by any political leader. True youth empowerment is not possible in our country when it is controlled by the prime minister and especially one with the characteristics of Ralph Gonsalves.
What happens when the advice of the council is not accepted by the prime minister? If this was a committee serious about empowering young people, how does youthful Senator Shackell Bobb become an advisor? Shouldn’t the role of the advisor be given to someone like Curtis King? Or someone who is more seasoned?
Please note that this is not an indictment on the intelligent and upright young men and women who have been appointed to the executive and various committees. As a matter of fact, it is a travesty that Gonsalves continues to use our young people as election tools!
Whatever happened to the watered-down Youth Parliament that was launched early in 2023? What happened to the 2020 manifesto promised to revive the National Youth Council?
The National Youth Council structure across the region is a working model. The existence of the Prime Ministerial Advisory Council on Youth is an insult to our young people and the rightful role young people play in our society. SVG is already too polarised for the ULP administration to now introduce such a committee.
Too often politicians hand out mediocrity to us and expect us to just accept it!
Rather than dealing with the issues I am highlighting in this article, the powers that be, will distort them to say I am opposed to the wonderful young men and women who make up the committee.
I expect people like Curtis King, Jimmy Prince, Israel Bruce, Junior Bacchus, Arthur Bobb, Colville King, Nicolette Balcombe, Joel Abraham, Joel Richards, Andrew Simmons and the other hundreds of former NYC comrades to not stay quiet as Gonsalves and the ULP re-create youth movement in SVG to a tribal, docile and unempowered rubber stamp!
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