Georgetown, Guyana – (August 12, 2017) Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon, earlier this evening, reaffirmed Government’s commitment to supporting youth development in all its forms as he noted that the current administration is actively doing the groundwork to ensure that the youth population is equipped with the skills, knowledge and experience they need to lead the country into prosperity.

The Minister of State was at the time delivering a brief address at an event organised by the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) for young people in the public service sector in observance of International Youth Day 2017, which is being celebrated globally today, under the theme, “Youth Building Peace.”

Minister Harmon said that as a Government, this administration recognises that it is their responsibility to provide the good life for young people and to prepare them for positions of authority, in which they can effect change. However, in order for this to take place Minister Harmon said that it is incumbent on the Government to ensure that youths are properly prepared to perform to their highest potential.

“We recognised that our youths for over 23 years up to 2015 were the forgotten majority. We recognise that it is important that we train our youth, that we prepare our youth not just to take up positions but that they can make a success of those positions which they take up. Additionally, on a weekly basis, we invest in our young people, sending them on short courses abroad so that they become acquainted with international best practices so that we are no longer left back. So as we celebrate I say that the Government of Guyana will continue to support youth development in all of its manifestations,” Minister Harmon said.

Minister Harmon noted that during the period this administration has been in power it has made significant investments in equipping the younger population. Over the two years, more than 500 scholarships were awarded to students to upgrade their education, so as to be able to give of their best to their country.

“Quietly and without much fanfare this is what your Government has done to prepare our youth for those positions of leadership. Over the period 2015 to 2017, we have invested and sent on scholarships abroad, 53 young Guyanese in places like the United Kingdom, China, Japan. About 540 young people have gone to local institutions over this period. We are on the cusp of changes that will take place in this country and it makes no sense putting persons in positions and you do not offer them any training so while we are the current stewards of the national patrimony, we will prepare the ground work. It is up to you, the young people to take up this country and take it forward and I want you to always understand that,” the Minister of State said.

Minister Harmon noted that while Government is making all the necessary investments it is up to the young people to take advantage of the opportunities, which are presented. In this regard, he sounded a call for youths to become organised so that they can achieve more for themselves and their communities.

“As a Government we have given support to religious organisations to invest in the spiritual and moral fibre of our young people. Various organisations and groups have also received tangible support from Government to improve physical facilities and promote the development of our young people. I also wish to take this opportunity to encourage our unorganised youth to get involved in organised activities as it is through these bodies that you can get the full benefits of partnership with the state for your own development,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ms. Nadeila Allen, a Public Relations Assistant attached to the Parliament Office, in a brief presentation, said that youths are important in any country. She noted that the necessary investments must be made to improve their lives as they have shills, talents and knowledge, which can positively impact the country.

“Youths are one of the most important assets a country can have. When you give youths voices in politics and public life, orient their school works transition, strengthen their skills and facilitate their access to decent jobs, they can play their full part in building stronger, more inclusive communities. Simply put, empowering young people and ensuring their participation at all levels will help them to shape a better and more equitable future for us all,” she said.

Ms. Dawn Gardener, Vice President, GPSU said that the event was organised with the sole aim of recognising the young people who are part of the engine of the public service sector.

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