(Excerpts of President of the NDP, Honourable Dr. Godwin Friday’s Address at the ‘Hope for Youth’ Rally)
My friends, as I told you at the Rally in Georgetown earlier this year, the NDP is the party of hope. It is the only vehicle that can deliver political change in the country now.
So, it’s not just Friday’s party or Nature’s party, but it’s ‘all ah we party’. The NDP tent is large and my arms are wide open, embracing all. Because more than anything, we must bring change to our beloved but suffering country. But believe me, it will not come unless we put aside small differences and work together under one banner—the NDP. Come for your own reasons, but come and join the movement.
Let’s face it: Gonsalves is used up and he seems more concerned with world travel than with us—our little problems are not enough for him anymore. The encyclopaedia has gone ‘thru’ and is out-of-date. So, the ULP now has nothing to offer our country. They can only hold us back.
After two decades, despite their big projects and big promises, they failed to deliver a better life for our people. Only the privileged few with high ULP ranking have done well. Who eat already, ‘eatin’ again. And the rest of the people are still catching hell. But, we will deliver for everyone regardless of party present or past. Everyone will enjoy the fruits of their hard work and the bounty of our country. We all will share fairly in what we produce.
My dear people, we come here tonight for more than entertainment; we come to proclaim that we stand for economic progress, that we stand for unity of our people, and we stand for fairness. Young people, you can shape the future of our country the way it should be. You have high expectations for yourself and your country. You want to make your mark in your country and the world. You expect and demand better from political leaders and government. And while you learn from the past, you don’t look back but forward, focused on the journey ahead.
Like you, I love this country very much. I want it to move forward. But we need to do better and we can do better than we are doing now. It is that knowledge that drives me; that gives me hope for the future, a hope that I know you share. But, as you know, hope is not about ignoring challenges facing us, or merely imagining that things will simply work out. It requires the will, planning and work to make it happen.
Clearly, our country is on the wrong track. It has been on the wrong track for a long time, and sadly, we are now reaping the bitter harvest. Too many people can’t find jobs to provide for their families; too many young people are unemployed. Wages are low, so even when you have a job, you can’t get ahead. Cost of living is crushing most families and they can’t make ends meet. And government does nothing about it. Young people can’t buy a vehicle because Customs charges are too high. Poverty has grown, so hardship has increased. Crime, especially gun-related crime, is out of control– making people afraid. 48 killings so far this year, with the killing today in Layou. We lose too many of our young men one way or another.
But we can’t give up. We are children of Chatoyer! Giving up is not in our DNA. And there is too much at stake. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we may accept finite disappointment but we must “never lose infinite hope.”
My Friends, we stand for building a country where people are treated fairly.
A country that provides jobs and business opportunities.
A country where wages are rising, allowing you to build a home, to maintain and educate your children, and to do so knowing that your NIS pension will be there when you retire.
A country where everyone could realise his or her potential;
A country where you will not be left out but can make your mark and be rewarded for it.
But hope is only the beginning; we must also plan together and work together. The best way—the only way– to do that now is to change the government and give the NDP the opportunity to serve you. I would be honoured to be our Prime Minister and work for you. I will serve you with every fibre of my body, with the vast experience I have gained over the years and with an enduring love and passion that will never fail.
No one believes in the people of this country more than me. No one will fight harder for you and this country than me. No one will do better to fix this country now than me, with my team. So, believe me when I tell you, the NDP is the vehicle of hope and change. It is the best place for all of us who have been let down by the government, who have been left out of their progress; who are fed up with being called names and with being insulted by arrogant, out-of-touch government ministers; who are fed up of being told to keep your mouth shut because you don’t know enough to have an opinion worth considering.
Young people, for too long, you have been told to leave the business of governing to your elders, and to be thankful for what you get. And what did you get? Very little. Nearly half the young people of this country are unemployed! ‘No wuk’ as they say. So, it is no wonder you feel neglected and left out. It is sad but not strange that so many of you say you don’t want to have anything to do with politics and politicians. I understand how you feel. But, if the last few years has taught us anything it is that leaving it up to others to do will not make things better. You must do it yourself.