THE government has been investing heavily in the development of human capital, especially as it relates to young people. This is indeed a positive and forward-looking step, given the critical role young people can, and do play in the exciting task of nation-building.
Young people comprise more than half of the total population, and the future belongs to them. Indeed, there is no better time in the country’s history to be young, given the enormous opportunities that now abound, thanks, in part, to the emergence of our evolving petroleum sector, but also to visionary leadership on the part of the PPP/C administration. Studies have shown that young people are much more adaptable to change, are less constrained by tradition, and are more likely to innovate and think, as it were, outside of the box.
The fact is that young people do play a decisive role in decision-making, starting from the very top with the election of President Ali, who is now ranked among the youngest individuals to hold the office of president in the region, and, for that matter, the world at large.
The same could be said of former President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, who, at the time of his assumption of office as Executive President was the youngest in the country’s history, and the region. Both Dr. Ali and Dr. Jagdeo continue to play important leadership roles at the highest decision-making levels as President and Vice-president, respectively.
This is consistent with the strong emphasis placed by the PPP on the involvement of young people in leadership roles. Dr. Cheddi Jagan was still in his twenties when he won a seat in the Legislative Assembly in the 1947 elections, despite a limited franchise which prevented a significant number of working people from participating in the voting exercise, due to income and property restrictions. He subsequently became one of the youngest persons to have been elected as the colony’s Chief Minister and Premier.
This tradition of involving young people in leadership roles has a long history, and is currently manifested in the composition of the current PPP/C Cabinet, which is, undoubtedly, the most youthful and energetic in the country’s history.
It is no exaggeration to state that the level of energy displayed by President Ali and his entire Cabinet is extraordinary, and has been a major contributory factor in the country’s transformation along the path of modernity and economic and social prosperity.
The fact is that young people are now provided with opportunities to realise their full potential in ways not hitherto possible. Through the GOAL programme, eligible Guyanese can now realise their dream of accessing higher education without having to place financial burdens on themselves or their families.
The same can be said of the National Youth Empowerment Programme administered by the Ministry of Labour through the Board of Industrial Training, where thousands of young Guyanese are trained in a variety of skill areas throughout the length and breadth of Guyana. Young people are also the beneficiaries of the social policies of the PPP/C administration, especially in the areas of housing and educational opportunities.
Guyana is going places with young people at the helm, which, along with the support and guidance of seniors, has catapulted the country to new and greater heights.
The frontiers of development are now rapidly expanding, driven by our political leaders. In all of this, the contribution of our young people has been highly significant, and with the renewed emphasis placed on youths by President Ali, their contributions to nation-building and governance will only be enhanced.
The fact is that the contributions of all Guyanese, regardless of race, colour, creed, religious or political affiliation, are needed if the full developmental potential is to be fully realised. We can only move forward as a society with all hands on board, a reality that has been fully recognised by President Ali as he envisaged a Guyana based on oneness and social cohesion, and one in which no Guyanese will be left behind.