Thursday, August 11, 2011

Overwhelming response so far for Impress Youth Expo

THERE has been a lot of buzz surrounding the ‘Impress Youth Expo’ which is slated to be held at the Guyana International Conference Centre today.

The Expo will provide a platform for the mainstreaming of young people and youth issues as part of the continued fortification and expansion of Guyana’s democracy. This event will take the form of a Youth Conference and Expo connecting, engaging and collaborating with Guyanese youth in expanding and creating opportunities, encouraging participation in policy making, social awareness, cultural presentation, ICT advancement and much more.
Several committee members including Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Local Government, Mr. Nigel Dharamlall; Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs, Mr. Colin Croal; Attorney at Law, Mr. Cheddi Jagan 11; among others met with the media Wednesday at the Guyana International Conference Center to discuss plans surrounding the Expo.
Dharamlall pointed out that this event is the first in a series of programmes which will focus on youth empowerment and the discussions will be facilitated by popular youth leaders in the country including Minister of Finance Dr. Ashni Singh, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ms. Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett and Minister of Housing and Water Mr. Irfaan Ali.
“It is a platform that enhances the mainstreaming of young people and youth issues as part of the continued fortification and expansion of our democracy. We intend to share plans over the next couple of months as we proceed into the wider engagement that young people must have as part of their full integration into national development,” he explained.
Alluding to the theme – ‘Impress Youth Expo- Making our Mark’, Mr. Jagan 11, said the main aim was to “tap” into the historic disregard for youth as immobile and mute members of population that are not involved in politics, social change and transformation.
He explained, “That is the issue that we want to address in coming up with this. We are cognizant of that historic disregard of youths in general and what we have in mind is to provide them with an unbiased forum, a place where they can get a greater appreciation and understanding of key government strategies and programmes and policies that are taking place.”
This, he said, is important as it is recognized that youths in general are the primary vessels that will one day influence and transform the country.
According to Jagan, this engagement will involve the utilization of user friendly systems and the latest technologies and medium to engage participants from all sections of society regardless of their political affiliation.
“We want to stress, this is not a PPP/C or Government event; this is open to youths in general. It is not for PPP members but for everyone, young Guyanese, male and female…we want you to come help make our mark,” he stressed.
As to the participation from youths in the hinterland and remote communities, Mr. Colin Croal noted that the response from these communities has been “overwhelming” and persons are expected from as far as Region 9 (Upper Takutu/Upper Essequibo) and Region 7 (Cuyuni/Mazaruni) as they are trying to include people from all over Guyana.
“As we speak, a delegation is here from Region 8 (Potaro/Siparuni),” he added.
As it relates to sponsorship for getting the participants to Georgetown, Croal emphasized that this is being sponsored by young people from various organizations and communities and has no Government of Guyana input in terms of expenditure.
Open participation and full discussion on three themes will be embraced at the event. These include Youth Opportunities, Transformation and Social Issues.
The date for this event is August 11, 2011 at the GICC and coincides with the observance of UN International Youth Day. Impress begins with a conference at 09:00 hrs, the proposed concert has been postponed until September owing to religious observances.
Youths from all across Guyana are being encouraged to attend the event while employers are also being urged to recognize the importance of the occasion.
“It is not a political engagement; now is an opportune time for young people to sit together and harness ideas, skills and ensure that those are taken on board as we move forward as a country. At no time we want this to be seen as a political forum,” the members of the committee stressed.

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