Youth conference a glaring “election gimmick” – Jagdeo

first_img…maintains neglected, job opportunities less for youthsThe recently concluded youth conference that was hosted in Georgetown was seen as another plan orchestrated by the coalition Government aimed at misleading the country’s youth.Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo said Government has done little to nothing to improve the lives of young people in Guyana but rather, it has made it harder for them to get equal opportunities for advancement and development in their homeland.“This is very transparent. It is part of an election gimmick. If you imagine they are now soliciting youth perspective on empowerment and development. What about your promises to young people? Shouldn’t you start with that?” he questioned.Jagdeo said everything that was promised to young people during the pre-election period have not been delivered. Those promises included free education, among others.The Opposition Leader said Government has also made it harder for young people to attend university due to the increases in fees. “You are going after people who have defaulted their student loan, which we didn’t do. You put a tax on education, you are now engaged in a major fight with the teachers of this country,” he observed.In addition to that, Jagdeo said the coalition Government had promised young people jobs but some 30,000 of them lost their jobs due to Government’s irrational decision.But more disturbingly, he recalled President David Granger speech at a cultural event at Betervawagting (BV), East Coast Demerara, where he described young people as lazy.“I wonder if he wanted those same young people to give him a perspective who he lectured to at BV, who he said that they must not have cellphones. But young people need those. It’s part of empowerment. He should see how being able to be connected to the Internet transform lives in rural communities in Africa and India,” he noted.The Opposition Leader claimed also that he had come across an email that was leaked or released and purportedly belonged to Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Basil Williams, talking about how the current Government could win young people’s votes.“One of the things he said is that as we get closer to elections, one of the things we will have to do is to get some music sets and bring in some artiste from abroad and we will do couple of big shows…That’s his perspective on young people… that we (Government) will win them back, that they are fickle minded,” he explained.JobsBut the former Head of State said Williams has clearly underestimated young people. “Because we know what’s happening out there now in the job market that it’s tough, tough, tough. It’s tough for grown people, people who had jobs and lost it, much less young people. And there is absolutely no attempt to address this. In fact they have this elitist sort of approach to everything. They are not connected to people’s real desires and concerns on the ground.”A Guyana Labour Force Survey released in March of this year had calculated that the unemployment rate stood at 12 per cent in the third quarter of last year, with disproportionately high numbers of both women and youth aged 15 to 24.The survey, said to be the first of its kind in Guyana in recent years, found that the total number of unemployed persons for the period was 37,119, which comprised 15.3 per cent of eligible females, as opposed to 9.9 per cent of eligible males, as well as 21.6 per cent of youth aged 15 to 24 and 28 per cent of young women.The inaugural Guyana Youth Conference 2018 was hosted under the theme, ‘Youth Perspective for Empowerment and Development for a better Guyana. The conference was held for three days beginning September 24 and ended on September 26 at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre. It catered for young people between the ages of 18-35.last_img