There seems to be a measure of unrest between the government and the young people who are asserting themselves and their roles in the nation’s development now more than ever and are using social media to raise their issues of concern. This newspaper has decided to pay attention to what seems to be a ‘new day dawning’ when young people couldn’t care about being coloured one way or the other are now standing up and openly criticize the government. The young people are indicating that a lot of what they are being told by government is rhetorical and empty promises. There is talk of young people even forming their own political party or movement for change.
This may not be new to Grenada as we think back on the Revolution, which saw a group of young people who had been showing signs of unrest finally seizing power in a coup d’état in 1979.
Sometime in the past a group of young people met with Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell to discuss matters pertaining to youth empowerment, as well as the problems and challenges that they were confronted with on a daily basis. That meeting was arranged by Senator Emmalin Pierre who was then the Minister of Youth. The young people engaged the Prime Minister in frank discussions about the state of the job market, training opportunities for the nation’s youth, sports, crime and delinquent behavior among some young persons throughout the county. The group of young people was very concerned then about the activities of some of their delinquent peers and demonstrated an eagerness to assist in spreading positive messages to these individuals with a view to encouraging them to turn away from their delinquent activities. Dr Mitchell promised to help by bringing resources into their communities and getting persons from different sectors of the society to visit and talk to them about choices and opportunities.
Then again, after his success in the last election, Dr Mitchell promised that there will be certain changes that are necessary in order to correct historic weaknesses in government. He promised to embrace young talent – and to give them the opportunity to make their mark on history. He revealed that he had repeatedly spoken about the contribution of the young people throughout the campaign and promised to move quickly to act in their favour, “for unless we do so, we risk losing an entire generation to cynicism.”
We tend to agree with another statement made by Dr Mitchell that a nation only makes a down payment on anarchy and confusion if it fails to invest in dreams and ambitions. It was his promise to have an expanded role for the new Ministry of Youth and an aggressive and expanded agenda for youth engagement and youth empowerment. Another promise was to make more training and scholarship opportunities available for young people and make it easier for them to start their own businesses.
The very scholarships and training have created a literate society which today must be treated accordingly and with due respect. Old politicians must wake up to that fact. We are taking note that messages posted in social media seem to indicate that the young people are again showing signs of restlessness as they express feelings of being left out and disrespected in a lot of areas.
Recently, by way of a press release, the Prime Minister again assured the young people of this nation that their recommendations will be given priority as the government prepares for budget 2021, in these very unique and challenging times.
Dr Mitchell, who was at the time addressing more than 200 young people at the virtual 2021 Youth Budget Consultation, said that the input from the youth will play both a direct and indirect role in the formulation of the budget, as any decision made in this period will have an enormous impact on their lives.
Hon Kate Lewis, who is now the Minister of Youth Development, pointed to a powerful promise that government is committed to achieving a robust economy with young people at the centre of development. However, she called on the youth to be ready to play their part. Her direct quote was “It will take innovation and commitment from young people to move the country forward with the current challenges that confront us.”
Journalist Hamlet Mark has been following what can be seen as a new trend and part of his text on social media says it is his “hope that Government is not too deaf, too inattentive or too arrogant to observe that “the outrage is not manufactured through some institutionalized political noise machine, but an organic out shoot from genuine people who could care less about labels and more about patriotism. This is the most glaring and the most dangerous – though not the only one of recent months – of an increasing contemptuous and dismissive posture- that is being metastasized in the body politic- and unless some chemotherapeutic intervention is had, could be of deadly political consequence.
The warning lights are flashing and the sirens are on!”