Georgetown, Guyana – (March 29, 2019) President David Granger, this morning, called on Guyanese youth to take up the mantle to lead Guyana into a prosperous country. The Head of State was at the time addressing some 300 youth gathered at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre at Liliendaal for the ‘One Youth: Regional Youth Caucus’.

“Guyana’s destiny is in the hands of its young people. The state is lending a helping hand, but young people’s hands must seize the opportunities being provided. Young people must not be afraid to lead. They have an invaluable contribution to make to society, particularly within their neighbourhoods, villages and regions. They possess the exuberance, enthusiasm and energy to make a positive contribution to national development. I therefore urge you to empower yourselves to lead,” the President said.

Delivering the feature address, President Granger reminded attendees that young people are vital to the nation’s progress. He said it is imperative that they be afforded every opportunity to participate in decision-making and in determining how their communities and the country should be administered.

“You are the future,” he said, noting that the Regional Youth Caucus brings young people together from all Ten Administrative Regions.

Young people, the President, reminded are vital to ensuring a strong nation of strong regions. “You constitute half of our population. One in every five of our citizens is between the ages of 15 and 24. You cannot be ignored. If anybody tries to ignore you, they would put the development, the future of this country in jeopardy. You are the ones who have to bring about change. You are the ones who possess the imagination to innovate, initiate and to invent,” he said.

Notwithstanding, President Granger reminded those gathered at the youth caucus that they “must be trained and empowered to assume leadership.”

“It would be reckless of older persons to expect young people to lead simply by trial and error. You can learn to lead only when the state strengthens the foundation – through education, equality, employment and empowerment– which will support and sustain their leadership,” he said.

Moreover, the Head of State stressed that if Guyana is to prosper, and if young people are to be given an opportunity to lead, then “a fresh approach to governance” must be adopted.

The emphasis, he said, must be on reinforcing the four cornerstones of youth development – education, equality, empowerment and employment.

“Your government, for this reason, has pursued a strategy of regional development and that is why today, the three hundred of you here have not come from one region but from all ten regions. Our aim is to develop all ten regions. Each region needs a centre, in the form of capital towns, for more balanced development,” he said.

He noted too that the establishment of capital towns and the renewal of local democracy countrywide go hand-in-hand and they are the engines of transformation and economic growth.

“Young people therefore must prepare themselves to work in the ‘engine rooms’ of local, regional and national development.”

The President strongly believes that youth empowerment can strengthen the competencies of leaders, can sharpen their talents and harden their resolve to allow them to assume responsibility for leading others.

“Education always is the basis of empowerment and the training of young people is an act of empowerment. The training of our youths is necessary if they are to be instruments of their own self-actualisation, development and if they are to be architects of their destiny,” said President Granger.

Since taking office in May 2015, Government has been enhancing educational opportunities for our young people with some 1, 534 scholarships being awarded to students drawn from every administrative region, as part of our policy to provide education and training to youths.

“Your Government is empowering youth by involving them in decision-making in their neighbourhoods and villages and at the regional and national levels. It is listening increasingly to the concerns of youth and giving them, voice and I hope that this is not the last caucus we want to hear more from you, not only here on the coast but from the regions from which you come,” the Head of State said.

He continued: “More important, it [Government] is empowering our young people economically and providing them with opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship. Youth empowerment will help to equip our young people with the skills, attitudes and values which are needed for them to become leaders. These attributes need to be inculcated in young people so that, when placed in positions of leadership, they could cope successfully with its demands.”

Meanwhile, President Granger called on all youth to be prepared to defend and protect their birth right, the country’s natural patrimony, against external threats as all of Guyana’s main hinterland regions have borders with neighbouring countries.

“These borders have to be defended by all of us and as I look around some of you are fit to participate in that form of territorial defence by joining the Guyana People’s Militia and if you wish, the Guyana Defence Force,” he stated.

Ministers of Social Protection, Social Cohesion, Public Infrastructure, Public Telecommunications, and Business and Tourism, Ms. Amna Ally, Dr. George Norton, Mr. David Patterson, Mrs. Catherine Hughes and Mr. Dominic Gaskin also attended the youth caucus which was themed, “Connect; reflect; project advancing youth participation in national development”.

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