Guyana celebrated its first International Youth Day with a youth rally and march last Friday under the theme ‘Change Our World’ at the Carifesta Sports Complex.
The theme of this year’s celebration underscored the level of impact that young people strive to achieve and also reflected the notion of a global community that is a core principle of the United Nations.
Approximately 700 youths from the different regions of Guyana participated in the event which began at 10 am.
The rally was followed by an opening ceremony, cultural presentation, launch of the United Nations 7 billon campaign and the release of 700 colourful balloons which decorated the sky over the capital city, in addition to an open mike session.
The march allowed young people to interact with each other while walking and dancing to music and displaying various banners calling for “Access to Financial Services”, “Access to Education”, “Access to Health Services”, etc.
Speaking at the gathering was Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr. Frank Anthony who outlined the five thematic areas that the ministry is working on along with young people and he explained the importance of each.
Anthony further noted that his administration does not see youth as tomorrow’s leaders but rather leaders of today as he urged the young people to access the ministry’s youth leadership programmes.
Meanwhile Assistant Representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Patrice La Fleur in launching the 7 billon campaign explained to the gathering that the United Nations (UN) has forecasted that the world by the end of 2011 will reach a global population of 7 billon and this increase in population will bring many challenges, many of which have already been seen.
She further called on the leaders to help in galvanizing support for programmes that target young people, adding that “young people are the key to the development of Guyana.”
And Lystra Fletcher-Paul also made brief remarks on the importance of youth in the development of the economy and the world.
Representing the youth population, Zaman Shaw explained that while many things are done to assist the youths the political leaders need to provide employment, noting that this will help to empower young people.
In the meantime, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in his message called on the international community to “continue to work together to expand the horizons of the opportunity for these young people and answer their legitimate demands for dignity; development and descent work. Failing to invest in our youths is a false economy…… investment in young people will pay great dividends in a better future for all.”