By Lavern King
Our prime minister has unveiled a new initiative, the Youth Advisory Council, with much fanfare. However, a closer look reveals a glaring hypocrisy in this attempt, as it comes in the wake of record-high youth unemployment rates under the prime minister’s leadership. The youth of our nation face a multitude of challenges, and the prime minister’s actions do not align with his rhetoric.
Empty Promises on Education:
While our prime minister proudly boasts about the number of students entering secondary school, he conveniently neglects to address the persistently high dropout rates and the inadequate support for technical and vocational skills training. The creative industry, often a source of opportunity for young talent, is also left out of the equation. His promises seem to be more about appearances than substantial change.
Committees with No Impact:
A recurring theme in our prime minister’s tenure is the formation of committees. However, these committees often exist more in title than in substantive work. The question remains: What will be different this time with the Youth Advisory Council? Will it be another empty gesture, a mere band-aid on the larger issues plaguing the youth of SVG?
An Aging Leader Clinging to Power:
It’s no secret that our prime minister is advancing in age, and some would argue, increasingly out of touch with the struggles and aspirations of the youth. The creation of the Youth Advisory Council can be seen as a desperate attempt to retain power. This is particularly evident as the prime minister has not made way for younger leaders within his party to take the reins.
Failure to Address Root Causes:
The social issues that continue to afflict our young people, including poverty and rising involvement in gun-related crimes, have not been adequately addressed. The shelving of the poverty assessment report is a clear example of the prime minister’s lack of commitment to addressing these root causes. It is not enough to form committees; substantial policy changes and proactive measures are required.
The launch of the Youth Advisory Council is, at best, a superficial attempt by our aging prime minister to maintain a grip on power. Our young people should not allow Dr. Gonsalves to use them in such a cheap way, the council in theory is great however it does little to address the real issues facing the youth of SVG, such as unemployment, education gaps, and social challenges. Real change demands more than committees and press conferences; it demands a genuine commitment to the welfare and progress of our young people. The nation deserves a leader who doesn’t just talk the talk but walks the walk, addressing the root causes of youth issues with genuine policy changes and opportunities for youth leadership.
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