Tue 8th Mar 2005
It is unfortunate that the present and previous governments have done little to stimulate the economy to bring opportunities to young people. Much money has been wasted on big projects, but the effects have not trickled down to the majority of the population, especially our youth. This government has not created income, but has just relied upon loans and grants. There is no coherent economic strategic in place, therefore the long-term prognosis for the economy is more debt, and the long-term prognosis for our youth is greater unemployment and poverty. SVG Green Party will introduce strategic economic planning and change the economy so it is export-led. Change for individuals will be noticeably stimulated by change at the national level.
SVG Green Party will:
- Set up community training units so people can gain skills or retake secondary school exams in evening classes if necessary. We intend to work with young people to help them understand the value of education and the potential it harnesses. We want to help them understand the significant opportunities that became available to you the more you are educated.
- Provide access to careers advice so young people are better placed to choose the appropriate skills training and education needed to pursue their careers. We intend to establish links with foreign colleges, so there is increased recognition of qualifications young people gain and they have greater prospects to work and study abroad. Long-term, we expect there to be an increase movement of labour, especially within CARICOM.
- implement a programme of regular sport activity to develop and harness the talent of our young people. Young people will be support to compete abroad and play in foreign sports leagues.
- Give support for the establishment of a youth parliament and strive to provide a knowledge based society and an economy for the youth.
- Encourage young people to operate their own small business. SVG Green Party policies will deliberately target empowerment of the youth with the provision of high levels of education and skills training. We believe that more support is needed for young entrepreneurs. Many of our young people have the skills to run their own business, but need advice and support to start their own business and be guided through the processes of business management.
- Increase the productivity of the manufacturing and service sector by using a technique known as 'business profiling'. An increased stimulation of these sectors shall create more jobs opportunities and we will see more people in employment and coming out of poverty.
- Look at expanding the arts culture with the introduction of a national theatre and support young people to export their skills. They will be assisted to perform and teach abroad.
- Establish a youth exchange programme within the Caribbean, USA, Canada and the United Kingdom. This is an important feature and will help develop young people's understanding of national and global issues. It will greatly help anyone running their own business as the knowledge of foreign places increases one's ability to be innovative.
- promote participation in Boys Scouts, Sea Scouts, Cadets Corps andcall sports in primary school. Taking part in activities such as these will enable young children to develop a multitude of skills at an early age and increase their confidence and self-esteem.
- Put on seminars about teenage pregnancy to reduce the level of teenage pregnancy and the rate of HIV and AIDS infection in young people. In the long-term the results will be a sharp reduction in teenage pregnancies as young women become empowered to take more control of their lives.
Throughout the process of implementing structures to help young people, it is important to remember that as well as working for young people, we need to work with young people. We believe that the experts about young people and issues that affect them are the young people themselves.
In order to get a greater understanding of the issues faced by young people and refine our policies further, we intend to carry out research of young by young people. That is, using a Participatory Appraisal (PA) we will conduct interviews and surveys with young people to look in-depth at issues affecting them.
We want to train young people in PA methods and techniques and let them carry out the research. Throughout the process they will learn and develop many skills.
Whilst doing a Participatory Appraisal (PA) it is important to carry out a gender needs assessment as the needs of young men and women may not necessarily be wholly similar. A gendered analysis will enable solutions to be tailored better for all young people. A gender analysis explores and highlights the inequalities in gender relations by asking, who does what, who has what, who decides and who benefits.
We want to create socio-economic snap-shot of young people, what they do, how they survive from day to day, what they want to do and what is preventing them. We need to look at what personal aspects in their life influence or determine decisions they make about taking up or refusing training and employment opportunities in and outside of St. Vincent. We need as a nation to be aware of what young people see as the barriers to getting on - such as possibly self image, confidence levels, education levels, childcare issues and develop, with young people, ways for them to overcome these barriers.
Our young people are our future we need to invest in them today.
Ivan O'Neal BSc(Hons), MSc, MBA
Leader and co-founder of SVG Green Party.