The Alliance For Change dismisses the letter dated September 1 in SN, penned by Louis Kilkenny (‘The youth has responded to the PPP/C because the other parties have failed to think outside the box’).
Firstly, it has to be highlighted at the very outset that the AFC’s youth conference was held much earlier on June 17 than the PPP’s event in August. The AFC’s youth conference saw a highly constructive level of discourse focusing on the national imperative of change. Secondly, it has to be established quite clearly that it is the PPP which has practised large-scale and systematic bribery of not just youths but all of Guyana. This is not a contentious issue but a reality.
Jagdeo’s OLPF is first and foremost an election gimmick. The AFC urges Guyanese youths to seriously think about the following: The University of Guyana Library (the most critical part of any university) is in serious need of enhancing. Anyone who has ever worked or studied there will attest to that.
The library has not been able to maintain its subscription to prestigious academic journals. Anyone in the field of academia will tell you that access to the latest journals is most important because that is where the up-to-date information is available. The law collection is in serious need of upgrading and the majority of the books in the science and tech department were published in the 1950s. The equipment in the LRC is prehistoric in tech terms and the CRL is in dire need of collection enhancement. Senior Library Assistants who are really the backbone of the library are paid a pittance. However, rebuilding such a vital institution is not as appealing as appearing as a magnanimous giver of laptops in an election year.
Thirdly, the PPP’s bribery of Amerindian communities with boat engines, water cans and solar panels which can only power some energy saving bulbs, is pathetic and disgraceful. This has to be seen against the background of the PPP failing in any way to revitalize the hinterland economy.
However, returning to the issue of youth development, in the AFC’s Action Plan, it is adumbrated that an AFC government would 1. rebuild and provide funding and staffing for community sports complexes; 2. Introduce talent identification for sport and athletics; 3. establish an accredited sports administration programme at UG, where persons can obtain degrees in Sports Medicine, Sports Nutrition, Physiotherapy and Sports Administra-tion – these courses will be made available to the rest of the Caribbean making Guyana Caricom’s home for ‘sports learning‘; 4. provide special scholarship for qualified youth in engineering, agri-technology, medical, business and information technology; 5. establish connections with foreign universities for sports and academic scholarships; 6. enhance sports participation for girls (and not necessarily pageants) to improve self-esteem and self-image.
On point one, the AFC submits that following the recommendations of the Venn Commission, Bookers had invested in a countrywide network of sport infrastructure in the form of community centres throughout the coast. Such facilities nurtured the talent of greats like Rohan Kanhai, Joe Soloman and Basil Butcher. This infrastructure was handed down to GuySuCo and thus the Government of Guyana. Successive governments have presided over their sustained deterioration. Old folks always light up with nostalgia when they recollect the excitement at the Leonora Community Centre anytime there were cricketing clashes between Leonora and Uitvlugt estates. We encourage youths to drive past Leonora to witness what has become of that community centre.
Another important issue that the Guyanese youth should be apprised of is the deafening silence of the PPP on the torture of young Mr Thomas at the hands of the police, an arm of the state. Justice George found that such practice breached international conventions on human rights which Guyana is a signatory to. That is really serious, egregious stuff. We have heard not one word from the PYO or any other arm of the PPP. It must be noted that Mr Thomas has been ably represented by the AFC’s presidential
candidate Mr Khemraj Ramjattan.
The Alliance For Change is a political movement dedicated to change. We recognize that it is the youth who will have to engender and cultivate that change. Specifically, it is the youth of the party who spearheaded the protest at the Ministry of Finance over the criminal practice of paying school cleaners half of the minimum wage, as against sitting silently at the Convention Centre and implicitly validating President Jagdeo’s obscene retirement rewards. The PPP because of its manifest ineptitude and corruption can only contaminate Guyana’s youthful exuberance. Youths should not be used to maintain a society of have, have mores and have nots. The energy of youth needs to be channelled towards developing a just, equitable and developing society.
AFC Youth Arm