Youth air concerns at first Youth Explosion in Reg. 3
Minister of State, Mr Joseph Harmon on Saturday hosted the first Youth Explosion, which provided an open discussion with youths of Essequibo Islands-West Demerara (Region Three).
The participants were able to have their say about the future and development of their region and country and to air issues, grievances, and receive advice on the way forward. The event was held at the Barnwell Event Hall and Hotel.
Youth Explosion, held under the theme ‘Unlocking our minds, releasing our potential’, hosted over 250 youth, hailing from Parika, Karia Karia, Leguan, Patentia and other villages across Region Three.
The young people participated in a plenary session and discussed in groups the issues plaguing their communities. At the end of the plenary session, each group selected a spokesperson to present their findings to the Minister and members of the regional administration.
“Today is not a day for me to speak. It is a day when I want to listen to you… You hear my story every day. You read [it] in the newspapers, [when] you look at the television, [when] you hear me speak… It is time that I hear you speak.
“This is why we are here today, to unlock… the young minds of our people so that we who are in Central Government, we who are in regional government can listen and hear what it happening in our communities,” Minister Harmon said during the opening ceremony.
Speaking about President David Granger’s mission to provide a ‘good life’ for living in Guyana, Minister Harmon said that the education and empowerment of young people are key to accomplishing that goal.
“We want to give you a good life. We want to provide [more] opportunities to young people to be the best they can become. We want to be rich, not merely in material possessions, but… in human values…
“A ‘good life’ is… a gateway [for] providing young people with opportunities for self-actualisation and self-esteem. Young people must be educated and empowered to be able to grasp these opportunities,” the Minister said.
Encouraging the young people to make the most of the Youth Explosion, Minister Harmon promised to take the stories told during the discussions back to the Cabinet.
The youth spared no time when given the opportunity to voice their opinions about the event.
Parika resident, Ms. Geetangli Samlall said the Minister’s visit gives her hope that things in the academic arena will improve.
“Having the Minister here today, I feel as if there is a new ray of hope coming… He’s here and he is motivating us. He’s trying to get something from us that he probably can’t get when he’s sitting in his office because we’re so far away…
“I feel really privileged to be here and I hope that he really does listen to some, if not all of our concerns… The youth need better education system overall because education is key to everything and Guyana is opening up to a lot of things that require education… Make it better. Make the syllabi… more practical, more logical, more useful to us,” she said.
Karia Karia resident, Debbie Fernandes said that there is a need for counselling services in her village.
“One of the things I was telling [the organisers] about [is] counsellors for our youth. Sometimes our youth feel… left out… like nobody cares. Our youth want help from people that could really [make a difference]… I was so excited to meet [Minister Harmon]. I couldn’t even wait for [today] to come,” she said. (Extracted and modified from Ministry of the Presidency)