Grenada’s youth population in crisis – who is to blame?

Grenada’s youths are in a ‘crisis’. Youth unemployment is at a record high approaching 60%. The much talked about NNP flagship youth program the ‘Imani ‘ program is a failure in terms of providing sustainable job opportunities for the tens of thousands of unemployed youths in the nation.

The longstanding Minister of Youth and Sports, Emmalin Pierre alias the ‘Imani Queen’ has been shamefully and unceremoniously ‘demoted’ by Prime Minister Mitchell and ‘closeted ‘ in his ministry far away from the youths of the nation.

The PM has lost confidence in her lackluster performance after having spent millions of taxpayers’ dollars on the Ministry of Youth with very little to show for it.

The youths of Grenada are being used as ‘political football’ by Keith Mitchell and the NNP. For the past decade the Prime Minister and his party used the prospect of jobs and more jobs during their election campaign to obtain the youth vote.

Mitchell and the NNP over the years have benefited greatly from the youth vote. In return the youths of Grenada have been exploited, manipulated and frustrated by the NNP.

Apart from the problem-plagued Imani program, a few scholarships for mainly the supporters of the party, the NNP has no ‘cutting edge’ plan, policy or program to address the many social and economic challenges facing the Grenadian youths.

Over 65% of the Grenadian population is under the age of 40 years.

Youth unemployment is almost 60%. This is crazy. Mitchell and the NNP’s political youth strategy over the years has been twofold.

Firstly, feed the youths with a heavy diet of negative culture in the form of massive shows by popular foreign artistes and entertainers.

Secondly, paint the opposition NDC as anti-youth.

Unfortunately, for the young people these strategies have worked to their detriment. The current unemployment situation is a manifestation of this.

The lack of knowledge, and an understanding of the socio-economic and political circumstances that they are exposed to has resulted in the young people blindly following and toeing a party’s line that has exploited them for decades.

Their circumstances would become even worse since given the fact that PM Mitchell has been able to form a ‘coalition and marriage of convenience’ with the churches, business community, NGOs, the media and other influential groups – each one seeking their own selfish agendas at the expense of the country especially the youths.

This situation may continue for the foreseeable future given the fact that the Grenadian youths have lost their revolutionary fighting spirit and have made themselves into political tools and graveyards.

Many of them can’t care less once they are given a bottle of rivers.

Sheldon Scot can run his mouth all day long, but as a Junior Minister of Youth and Sports he was a complete failure. Fortunately, for the Imani trainees he has been removed as a Minister and no longer sits in Cabinet.

Together with the Prime Minister, and Emmalin Pierre they have individually and collectively failed to provide the leadership, motivation and inspiration to inspire the youths to excellence and productivity.

The Prime Minister must take the blame for the plight of the Grenadian youth. Some may argue why but it is because he has used his position to mislead the youths. He has lied to them every election cycle. He has used his influence and power to misdirect their energies into negativity.

The parents and the youths themselves also have to take some responsibility for the situation the young people have found themselves in.

Former Prime Minister Tillman Thomas and the NDC tried to instill some value and self worth into the lives of the Grenadian youth, however the demonic NNP resisted their approach vigorously.

Through the Youth Upliftment program/education and the development of the human resource capacity and capability was the centerpiece of the party’s youth development initiative.

There was a drastic change in the attitude of the young people towards education and self-development. Something very positive was taking place. The NDC however missed an opportunity to implement drastic and radical changes after a decade of NNPism.

It would be unfair to blame the NDC for the many challenges facing
Grenada’s youths. The Tillman Thomas-led NDC administration initiated a host of youth programs, plans and policies to advance the interest of the young people.

The establishment of a Scholarship Desk in the Ministry of Education, the free school books program, the reimbursement of the exams tuition for students passing eight CXC subjects, paying off the exams fees for students in the youth program among others. The only other government to implement meaningful youth development programs was the PRG of Maurice Bishop.

Following the 2013 general elections all the great youth developmental initiatives of the NDC administration have been rolled back by the NNP.

In true NNP style, politics returned in every element of youth development and training. Hundreds of young people were sent home from their jobs and replaced with NNP cronies – many of whom have little or no qualification to do the jobs they were given.

The return of NNP in 2013 saw a rise in lawlessness, increase in youth unemployment, crime and violence, pornography drug use, prostitution, truancy and poverty. In recent times hijacking and kidnapping have surfaced in the country.

To make matters worse a ‘gun culture’ is slowly making its way into the society. It bleeds me to see what is happening to the young people under the NNP in collusion with some church leaders and other stooges of the government.

The lust for money has resulted in many folks who can make a positive difference in the lives of the youths selling their integrity and credibility for thirty pieces of silver. Divine intervention may be needed to change the situation.

If Keith Mitchell and the NNP had the young people at heart then they would have passed a bill in the parliament to enhance youth development to be voted on in the October referendum.

The young people should open their eyes and see which leader and political party genuinely cares about their development. Without any doubt it is Nazim Burke and the NDC. Contrary to what is being said, Nazim Burke will do a much better job at youth development than Keith Mitchell and the NNP.

The record is clear, under Keith Mitchell and the NNP Grenada’s youth unemployment rate has increased tenfold. Mitchell is the longest serving leader in Grenada and this must never be trivialised. He is a failure, period!

Under his leadership the lives of the youths have become remarkably worse. A few excel but the vast majority of us are ‘eating grass’ under the NNP. Tens of thousands of the youths are crying out for help.

To prove that the condition of the young people has deteriorated the only major infrastructure that the NNP has built in the last year for the youths is a Juvenile Rehabilitation Centre. The government hasn’t built a single school for years. Keep the youths ignorant, dependent and stupid, their votes are guaranteed.

All is not lost though as we witness the accomplishments of Kirani James and Kaplin. Nothing lasts forever and what is certain is that the future belongs to the youths.

The politicians who are exploiting the nation’s youths today won’t be around tomorrow. Their legacy will be bitter and history won’t ever be kind to these despots. When the time does come it may be too late for many of the youths who have allowed the NNP to turn them into ‘rum
Zombies’ but the power of the youths shall prevail.

Grenadian Class

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