By Raphael Trotman, AFC Leader
There is a special joy that comes from associating with young people which energizes the old and excites the aging.
Working closely with the members of the AFC’s youth arm over the past month, has filled me with a deep sense of pride that long after I am gone from politics, there will be a brave army of young people who will be ready and able to carry the torch.
In this nation in which youths comprise almost 2/3 of the population we cannot help but fix our gaze on the near horizon and accept that the “now” generation is upon us and even as we address our minds to the serious nature of government and administration, we cannot divorce ourselves from the reality that our youths are the reason why we labour so tirelessly so that they and generations to come will inherit a better life.
On Saturday, May 8, 2010, youths from across this nation and from all the social-economic backgrounds and political persuasions came together at the Ocean View Convention Centre to claim their birthright as Guyanese, and not their ethnicity.
They gathered in their hundreds at the inaugural Youth For Change Convention sponsored by the AFC.
Their keen interest and participation in the day’s proceedings made me proud to be Guyanese and excited about the future prospects for our beautiful Guyana.
As I look ahead I take comfort in the belief that the youths of Guyana are determined to forge a new culture that would empower them and a vision that would direct the path which Guyana must take in this 21st Century.
The AFC has a unique advantage of having a team of leaders who were born just before, and immediately after, independence.
We are therefore placed at a vantage point which allows us to experience the failings and disappointments of our parents and the hopes and aspirations of our children.
Being in this strategic position, places a humbling responsibility on us to be that bridge which reconciles past hurts and lost opportunities on the one hand, with present expectations and beliefs that Guyana’s time for change is now.
In our Agenda For Change we commit to taking several critical steps that include:
1. Establishing a caring government where the suffering and plight of the poor, youth, the issues of gender and Guyanese in general will be addressed in a timely manner;
2. Creating a system of education and moral guidance that will unlock the potential of your youths in an environment of equal treatment and equal opportunity which supports and strengthens the family structure.
We envisage a Guyana where our children can grow to be productive adults and not leave to toil and develop another nation’s resources.
Our youths are rightfully impatient about being told to wait for 30 and forty years to reap the benefits of the resources of Guyana.
The question, why can’t we make it happen now is a vital question that has to be answered not tomorrow or next week, but now. Today!
We in the AFC understand that youths are weary of politicians and their motives but yet wise enough to understand that change, development, and encouragement cannot come except through political agitation and action. The two go hand in glove.
We will, not tomorrow or next year, but now, place youths as front and centre of our drive to deliver a better Guyana.
This cannot be postponed as we recognise that we have to earn the right to govern not simply because we say we stand for change, but because we strive to live the change that we seek.
The time has come for leaders to lead not on the basis of colour, class or creed, but on the basis of merit.
We therefore will not encourage the notion of ethnic leadership and tokenism which says that only an Afro-Guyanese leader can lead an Afro-Guyanese.
Any leader of the AFC, or for that matter, of this nation, must be able to serve the interests of all Guyanese without fear or favour. This is our goal and covenant with all Guyanese.
The AFC promises the youths of Guyana that we will break the generational curse of race politics that has affected and afflicted our nation for decades.
We promise to listen, to understand, to learn, and to implement not those policies and programmes which we believe are best, but those which have won the approval and the support of the youths of this nation.
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