Guyana is on the cusp of a sizable increase in its wealth from the extraction of oil. Although the estimates keep changing, what is evident is that the country will become materially rich. Hence, there is much discussion about preparing the country for this newfound wealth by ensuring that Guyanese are gainfully employed not only in the oil sector but in all sectors that are vital to the country’s development.
My concern, however, is about many of Guyana’s youths. In particular, those youths who are not gainfully employed, who lack the education, training, skills and the self-discipline necessary to contribute. I am especially worried about those brazen, marauding gangs of young men who prey on people every day.
A few weeks ago, I mourned the loss of a friend and neighbour, Mr. Clairmont Telesford, who was robbed and killed just outside his business. Unfortunately, this ghastly act is not an isolated incident. There are many more victims. Our country must address this problem by giving youths the skills and discipline to positively contribute to our society.
I was pleased to learn about the visit of the Honourable Minister Simona Broomes to the Timehri Prison where she offered hope and support to the inmates and encouraged them to become better young men.
A practical approach is now needed to assist them while in prison and when they leave prison. In other words, there should be attempts made to rehabilitate them. For example, they should be allowed to complete their secondary school education, they should be provided with vocational training in areas that will make them productive citizens. After paying their debt to society, I hope that we will accept them back into our society. Let us not forget these youths or create a revolving door where they are in and out of prison.
As Guyana ushers in its newfound bright and rosy future, I hope that its citizens will be able to sleep comfortably at night, walk peacefully on the streets, and feel free to start and grow their businesses without fear of being robbed and killed.
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