Over 500 youths incarcerated, 22.9% unemployed – President
By Leah Hernandes
The high rate of social ills in Guyana’s youthful population, especially the incarceration and unemployment of young people, is expected to be reduced significantly in the coming years as the Government of Guyana launches its Youth Corps.
The aim of the Youth Corps is to eradicate unemployment and ultimately the incarceration of young people via education, empowerment, equality, and employment.
This was disclosed by President David Granger, who was at the time delivering the feature address at the much-anticipated launching ceremony at the Kuru Kuru, Linden-Soesdyke Highway on Thursday.
During his address, the President acknowledged that Guyana’s youthful population, over the past years, has been plagued by a number of difficulties especially with the incarceration of over 500 youths.
“We acknowledged that the dropout rates from primary and secondary schools; the migration rate of university graduates; the rate of teenage pregnancies and the rate of youth incarceration – with more than 500 young people within our prisons and correctional institutions . These rates must be reduced and if possible, eliminated ….Youth unemployment, as at December 2017, stood at 22.9 per cent. One in every three young persons, between the ages of 15 and 24, is not in education, employment, or in training (NEET). This is an unacceptable situation,” the President stated.
He, nevertheless, reassured students and other young people that with the launch of the Guyana Youth Corps and the guidance of the national youth policy, their talents would be boosted and opportunities for self-actualization widened, noting that overall this would contribute to national development.
“This vision emphasises the four cornerstones of our national youth policy – education, equality, empowerment and employment. The energy of young people is evident everywhere. Their enthusiasm and exuberance cannot be restrained or repressed. The Corps will amplify their talents and expand the opportunities for self-actualisation,” the Head of State said.
Meanwhile, Social Cohesion Minister, Dr George Norton, during his brief remarks, reiterated that the Youth Corps was geared at enhancing the lives of young Guyanese and showed Government’s commitment to strengthening the country’s youthful population.
“As we launch the Guyana Youth Corps, a comprehensive initiative geared at enhancing the lives of young Guyanese by encouraging them to take charge of their future throughout the length and breadth of Guyana. Since taking office in 2015, your government had strengthened and pioneered to educate and empower you, the youths of this country,” Dr George said.
The Guyana Youth Corps was first established on January 1, 1968 as a means of solving the youth unemployment problem. It operated for seven years, during which time, approximately 1200 youths benefited from the programme. The Youth Corps was then absorbed by the National Service on January 1, 1975, which itself was dismantled in 2000.
Under the new programme, youths will be trained for one year. The levels of training will include apprenticeship, traineeship and internship, and the programme will span all 10 Administrative Regions. However, the main office and campus will be at the Kuru Kuru Training Centre.
The auspicious event was commemorated by the unveiling of a plaque and was graced by the presence of Government Ministers, including Education Minister Nicolette Henry, Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Minister Sydney Allicock, and Social Cohesion Minister, Dr George Norton among others.