Next year must present new realities of an informed youth demographic

Dear Editor,

Speaking about resistance and continuity in 1982, Audre Lorde said examining our incomplete vision or work means reflecting on our triumphs and errors not to condemn the vision but to alter it, create future possibilities, and focus our rage upon the status quo rather than upon each other.

Audre Lorde also said ignoring the past or romanticising it for what it was not is detrimental to our causes because the only way to make the past work for the future is to direct and redirect our energies in the present to fusing one into the other.

2011 and 2015 were phenomenal years for youth in Guyana. Young people going to the polls demonstrated our strength in numbers to shake our political culture and redistribute power.

The youth vote stripped the incoming government in 2011 of a parliamentary majority, then, in 2015, brought that regime (of 23 years) to its knees citing an inexcusable record of corruption, blatant disregard for human rights, and unwillingness to respect local democracy.

In 2016 and 2017, we must ask ourselves as youth whether our engagement in the system begins and ends with inking our fingers every five or so years, and further if we are prepared to handle the responsibility of having a seat at the decision-making table. What do we say? Is one seat enough at the table to aptly represent Guyana’s multi-faceted, multi-faced youth experience?

When Finance Minister Winston Jordan wrapped up the recent budget debates, he rightly said, to the effect that, there are many groups which petition for consultation in the budget process. However, these groups are seldom prepared to show the positive correlation between advancing national development, and granting benefits petitioned for by those groups.

I’ve engaged with a few youths, movers and shakers in their own right, whom I know are doing a great disservice to themselves and their causes because, evidently, there is a reading deficiency. 2017 must present new realities of an informed youth demographic, emphasis on informed.

We must also become comfortable with trial and error, rather than tear down the efforts of our allies in the struggle. We must build coalitions where possible and consolidate the youth voice across differences.

My offer to provide assistance for any youth desirous of sending Letters to the Editor remains open. Similarly, my blog Projyct66 (https://projyct66.wordpress.com/) has been transformed to a repository for youth-based content gathered from editorials, letters, and news articles on youth in Guyana.

Our effective (emphasis on effective) engagement within the system as traditionally marginalised youth depends on our voracious appetite (or lack thereof) for the consumption of knowledge, and our ability to present evidence-based solutions to lifting the circumstances of youth across the spectrum.

What am I reading? Am I in the literature I consume? Am I moved by the literature I consume? What is the way forward?

There is work to be done. And each one of us must account for our efforts.

Yours faithfully,

Derwayne Wills

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