National Youth Week 2019 launched in Berbice
By Tanuja Raikha
DPI, Guyana, Saturday, May 18, 2019
The Department of Youth of the Ministry of the Presidency’s Department of Social Cohesion, Culture, Youth and Sport, in collaboration with the Regional Democratic Council Region 6, today launched the 2019 National Youth Week.
The launch commenced in Berbice with a rally focusing on youth mental health and wellbeing. Scores of young people marched from Philadelphia, Main Street, New Amsterdam to the region’s State House, in commemoration of National Youth Week.
An exhibition and concert followed the rally. Those in attendance were entertained by peers who performed several dance routines, skits and songs.
Representing the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) was the Regional Executive Officer (REO), Kim Williams-Stephen, who stressed on mental health issues that are currently affecting today’s society, and is common among the youth.
It was explained that some of the more common mental health disorders are depression, bipolar disorder, dementia, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders. Symptoms may include changes in mood, personality, personal habits and or social withdrawal. Mental health problems may be related to excessive stress due to a particular situation or series of events Williams-Stephen reasoned. “We should be our brothers and sisters’ keeper,” she urged.
Today’s activity aimed to highlight the absolute importance of young people’s contribution to national development especially in the area of sport.
With a focus on mental health, in his address to the gathering, Minister of Social Cohesion, with responsibility for Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr. George Norton noted that in Guyana, the talk of mental health and seeking therapy for some has always been taboo. However, young people turning to suicide and violence as a way of dealing with stress and trauma should not be an option, and people need to ensure they reach out to others, even if all may seem well.
“The Government of Guyana promised the youth of this nation a good life, and we will deliver a good life to you. This is not a promise, it is a commitment,” the minister told the cheering crowd of mostly young people.
He urged the gathering to make use of the programmes offered by the Department of Youth since they are specifically tailored towards youth comprehensive growth and healthy development.
“Guyana is yours, willing and open, ready and waiting for you to etch your mark,” he reminded.
The excellent performance by Guyana’s Youth at the most recent Junior Carifta Games held in the Cayman Island was also acknowledged at the event.
“Guyana is now poised to host the next leg of this prestigious Championship in 2021 because of the country’s youths’ commendable performances. This is just one of many major accomplishments owing to the positive inputs of our young people. Region 6 is well prepared for such activity because the region will be equipped with a fully furnished and equipped synthetic track.”
In his closing remarks to the youth of Region 6 Minister Norton said:
“Your nation depends on you to embrace the diversities that exist and to accept each other as brothers and sisters in humanity, regardless of our differences in faith, Culture, tradition or ethnicity. We are and forever will be One People, One Nation, One Destiny.”
The week of activities includes a round table discussion on youth unemployment to be held on May 21 at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall. This will be followed by an expo and cultural presentation on youth, scheduled for May 23, a community project organised in Region 10 and conclude with a community outreach in the Agricola community on May 25. Aside from the major activities, smaller events will be held throughout the country, giving young people a chance to sound their voices.
Participating in the launching ceremony and rally were students from secondary schools all across Region 6, including the riverine areas.
Images by Tanuja Raikha