“We need youths critically integrated in national policy-making, implementation process – Pres Ali

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President Dr Irfaan Ali with the members of the newly establish Presidential Youth Advisory Council

…as inaugural Presidential Youth Advisory Council launched

The Guyana Government is looking to have young people actively participating in every level of the decision-making and implementation process across all sectors in the country.

This is according to President Dr Irfaan Ali, who made this disclosure on Friday as he launched the Presidential Youth Advisory Council at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC) at Liliendaal, Greater Georgetown.

The multi-member Council comprises young professionals from various fields ranging from medicine to academia to science and environment to legal to military to sport, and students from throughout Guyana.

According to the Head of State, political and policy decisions affect everyone, and it is therefore important to have the youths involved in this process, which is not only geared towards national development, but is also setting the foundation for their futures.

“They are here because I believe strongly that we need our young people to be critically integrated into policy-making and into the policy implementation of our country; so they can have a thorough understanding, an in-depth understanding, as to how policies are determined, why they are determined; and they can contribute in the finalisation of the policies and programmes that will take our country forward,” he stated.

A section of the gathering at Friday’s launch of the Presidential Youth Advisory Council at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre

To this end, President Ali posited that every policy decision made at the municipal, regional, and national levels in Guyana would be reflective of the involvement of the Youth Advisory Council. This, he explained, is to ensure that those policies and programmes bring the type of goods and services the Government wants to deliver to people.

“What they will do is they will work with our communities (including) our hinterland communities, in developing plans and projects. They will do feasibility studies so that we are always in a state of readiness to have support for projects for young people,” he explained.

“One of the outputs is for us to sit down with the banking system and identify opportunities from a business perspective that young people can engage in…working with people with disabilities… working with our former national football players, cricketers, hockey, squash and integrating them into the development path of pushing sports and using sports as a tool to empower people and bring new talents. They will be doing a lot of this type of work,” he outlined.

The Council would also be working with state agencies and Ministries to advance the interests of young people, build capacity, and motivate youths.

President Ali with members of a local Robotics team after Friday’s launch

Further pointing out that they are the next generation of policymakers, the Head of State told members of the Youth Advisory Council that they are now in the real world of problem-solving. As such, he charged that they can no longer stand by, but need to start taking control of their futures by actively participating in the policy formation and implementation process.

In the initial stage, the Council would comprise 29 young, skilled Guyanese, over 50 per cent of whom are female professionals. This number is expected to grow in the future.
Simultaneously, the President pointed out that the country is losing its males, who are not pursuing high goals – something which he noted must be reversed.

“…[We have to] ensure that as we advance the involvement of women in the development path of our country, that we are not losing males in the process… We need to nip this in the bud too, because we cannot lose the males going forward. They have to step up and take responsibility, they have to be part of the development processes and programmes of our country,” Ali noted.

The Head of State went on to implore membership of the Youth Advisory Council to do their best and focus on achieving the goals they were brought together for.

Chairman of the newly establish Presidential Youth Advisory Council Josh Kanhai

This Presidential Youth Advisory Council was launched on Friday, when the world observed ‘International Youth Day’. The body is being Chaired by Josh Kanhai, who has committed to not only advancing young people in Guyana, but to have their needs identified and addressed, so that they can achieve their full potential.

According to Kanhai, such a Council has been long in the making. In fact, he noted that the body would be a representation of all facets of youths across the country – something that has been missing.

“I can assure you that we will touch each and every region… I can assure you (that), with the leadership of His Excellency and with the leadership of the Council and its members, we will ensure that each and every youth can see a vision that we present to them, and they can tell us also what they would like to do. They can tell us, meet with us, talk to us; we will listen, and we will understand to our best, and we will work with them. And we are sure that we will be able to do so, given the facilities that we are now being offered,” the Council Chair asserted.

Culture, Youth and Sport Minister Charles Ramson Jr

Culture, Youth and Sport Minister Charles Ramson Jr, in brief remarks, said the establishment of this Youth Council is yet another demonstration of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) administration fulfilling its promise to the people of Guyana.

He noted that this move would fortify and amplify the voice of young people in the decision-making process at the highest level of the Government.

“It is very very important that you understand why you’re here, and how important it is that you’re here. The country is going to transform, but we get to define how the country is going to transform… We are more than having our voice heard, we are at the seat of the table,” Minister Ramson told the Council members.