Blue CAPS kicked off its first leadership training yesterday through which a number of participants from about seven NGOs will receive training that will eventually enable them to articulate, aggregate and address the needs of their respective communities. Blue CAPS founder Clinton Urling said the training will run for a month initially, and will include theoretical as well as practical instruction in general leadership skills. The training will take place strictly on weekends, during which time participants will spend a total of eight hours in classrooms receiving theoretical instructions.
The remainder of the time will be spent in the fields, where participants will be divided into groups, and will be required to design sustainable small-scale projects to address actual issues in identified communities. This is designed to create and hone practical experience.
The participants, Urling shared, are part of non-government groups including the Society against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD), the Youth Action Network, Global Shapers and the Cuffy 250 Committee. This training is the first of several planned leadership instructions, Urling explained. He said Blue CAPS will eventually implement similar initiatives in upper-Corentyne, while talks with Linden for a similar endeavor there is ongoing. Blue CAPS has not yet been launched officially and Clinton said it will be legally registered and launched by the end of this month. Once registered the group will be open to young persons between the ages of 16 and 40.
No political ambition
Meanwhile, the businessman turned leadership activist said that Blue CAPS has no political ambition whatsoever, and added that the group’s bylaws prevent it from political undertakings, including contesting local government elections.
After the group burst onto the scene in early March it immediately commenced a campaign to press for local government elections.
Though Guyana’s constitution mandates such elections every three years, these elections have not taken place since 1994. Urling had said that local government elections is long overdue and the group decided to press for such elections even though such an undertaking was not its initial focus. This decision has caused many observers to assume and suggest that Blue CAPS is a political body with political ambitions. Some have even suggested that the group has ties with political parties.
Urling said that while he is happy the group is well recognised despite its short existence so far, perceptions that Blue CAPS has political ambitions, or is tied to any political party are misplaced. “Nothing we have said or done indicates that we are a political body,” Urling said, adding that he hopes the group’s actions once launched will dispel all misperceptions.
He explained that the group will be working towards making significant changes in society, and that its goal is to remain objective and neutral as it works to execute its mandate. Despite his upbeat demeanour in the face of distrust and suspicion though, Urling lamented the perception that any person or body operating in the political realm is branded as partial.
He criticised that Guyanese have lived for far too long with the idea that the political realm is exclusively the territory of politicians/policy makers, and said this needs to change. He noted that because Blue CAPS’ existence and work is unprecedented people have been branding it an instrument of either the government or A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) when it is neither. In fact, Urling said, the group has been criticised by the very sides it is accused of being tied to. Despite these challenges though, Urling said the group’s members have committed to working towards its goal in leadership advocacy, and by extension the development of Guyana.