Democracy, health in focus as Guyana’s youth council joins civil society talks in LA


By Vishani Ragobeer in Los Angeles

Democracy and safeguarding people’s health are among the key focus areas for the Guyana National Youth Council (GNYC) as it joins other civil society stakeholders in Los Angeles (LA).

President of the GNYC, Dr. Quacy Grant, who is part of the GNYC team participating in the Civil Society Summit of the ongoing Summit of the Americas, told the News Room that the body is keen on generating support for the work done in Guyana.

The council’s key priorities, he explained, lie in upholding democracy and good governance, health and resilience and safeguarding a ‘green’ future.

These priorities have been evident in initiatives created by the council, including its efforts in voter education and encouraging first-time voters to exercise their franchise, and in promoting COVID-19 vaccination.

“It is important for us to participate (in the Summit) because of the linkages and the networking that this event provides so as to strengthen our work.

“We need to think globally and act locally,” Dr. Grant told the News Room at the sidelines of the ongoing Civil Society Summit being hosted at the Sheraton Hotel.

Asked what makes the Summit a unique opportunity for the GYNC to advance the interest of Guyanese youth, the council head explained that it offers increased visibility to the organisation.

“Our objective here is not to air our dirty laundry but to get as much support to benefit the young people in Guyana.

“…we’re not here to make anyone look bad because at the end of the day we’re ‘One Guyana’ and the work we do is to help in the ‘One Guyana’ plan and helping to build Guyana,” the GNYC President underscored.

Dr. Grant does not believe that the civil society forum is a mere talk-shop either. Instead, he explained that if the youth council can “market” itself effectively, it can garner much-needed resources to expand advocacy and programmes meant to help develop Guyanese youth.

The IX Summit of the Americas is being hosted in Los Angeles, California, in the United States (Photo: News Room/ June 6, 2022)

The GNYC is one of the organisations invited to showcase its work at the “Regional Initiatives” space of the Summit. There, other civil society organisations and participants, leaders of the western hemisphere and other stakeholders will be edified on the work done by the youth council.

This Civil Society Summit is one forum organised as part of the week-long IX Summit of the Americas, being hosted by the United States of America (USA) in the city of Los Angeles. This allows for dialogue between leaders and civil society bodies on key issues.

At the forum’s opening on Monday, Assistant US Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Brian Nichols emphasised that civil society organisations are crucial to building “strong and inclusive democracies”.

“At the summit, our collective action can demonstrate our commitment to upholding the role of a free civil society to promote democratic government,” Nichols said.

Several thematic discussions are ongoing at this civil society forum, including democratic accountability, health preparedness, environmental protection and gender equality.

The ninth summit, generally, is a meeting of leaders of countries in the Organization of American States (OAS). This year it will be held in the week of June 6 to 10.

Leaders within the Americas, including Guyana’s President Dr. Irfaan Ali, will gather in Los Angeles this week to discuss key issues affecting the region and plans for recovery and future development.

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