Georgetown, Guyana – (November 11, 2017) Minister of Social Cohesion with responsibility for Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr. George Norton, yesterday, commended the recipients of the Third National Youth Awards and encouraged them to continue to set the example of selfless service for the younger generation to emulate. Twenty-five awardees, including individuals, clubs, groups and organisations, were honoured for their advocacy, voluntary and other work among youth at the ceremony, which was held at the National Cultural Centre.

Delivering the feature address, Minister Norton said that the Ceremony is a fitting way to honour the awardees, who have made a significant impact on the lives of their peers and contributed to national development. “You have been championing the cause of youth and community development and today we celebrate your achievements,” he said.

Dr. Norton also noted that their work complements that of the Department of Youth, which has been exposing youth to leadership training, facilitating their access to education and employment and providing opportunities for their civic engagement. “Youths represent the largest demographic in Guyana and have a very important role to play in nation building. Youths can contribute to building an inclusive society based on respect, equality and full participation of all its members, regardless of their ethnicity, cultural background, religion, language and gender identity,” he said.

Director of Youth (AG), Ms. Leslyn Boyce, expressed similar sentiments, noting that young people have been overcoming challenges and making positive contributions to their communities. “No country can be successful without the energies [or] the ideas of its youth. We must, therefore, commend our youth, who have completed their primary education and have moved on to… high school… as well those who have dropped out of school, but have had the will to improve themselves, have shared their experiences with others [and have] encouraged their peers to make good use of the second chance[s] resulting in …better and safer [communities],” she said.

Awards were presented to young people between the ages of 14 and 35, who have contributed to the development of their peers through the use of the arts, sports, volunteering, youth entrepreneurship and agriculture. Five groups/organisations were also recognised for their service; the Rotaract Club of Georgetown, For the Children’s Sake, Buxton Arts Theatre, Youth Ambassadors Program 2015 and Totally Moulding Training Centre.

In an invited comment, awardees, Ms. Monique Emmanuel of the Silver Sands Sports Club, Waramuri, Barima-Waini (Region One); Mr. Rickie Williams also of Barima-Waini (Region One), Ms. Merlyn Hercules of Kabakaburi, Pomeroon-Supenaam (Region Two) and Ms. Holliann Cambridge of Linden, Upper Demerara-Berbice each said that they were honoured to be recognised for their work.

Ms. Emmanuel said that her youth work stemmed from a desire to improve the self-esteem of the young women in her community through sport, with the view to reducing the incidence of teenage pregnancy.

“When I heard that I was one of the awardees, I was very elated. I was very excited because knowing that someone recognised me for the work that I have been doing in the community, well my family is … proud and I am proud to be here to be recognised as one of Guyana’s youth, pushing youth to find their true potential,” she said.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation in Guyana, Secretary-General, Ms. Patrice LaFleur, Her Majesty, Queen’s Young Leader 2017, Ms. Samantha Sheoprashad, Director of Sports, Mr. Christopher Jones, Director of Culture, Ms. Tamika Boatswain also attended the ceremony. The Awards were held under the theme “Inspiring youths, Celebrating their achievements”.

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