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Youth leader: PM too busy to meet with me

Published: 
Wednesday, December 6, 2017
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Nikoli Edwards

Vice Chairperson for Policy, Advocacy and Projects on the Commonwealth Youth Council Nikoli Edwards says there is a sense of hopelessness among the nation’s youth and he wants an opportunity to meet with Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to discuss that and other concerns.

However, he has been told Rowley is unable to meet with him because of his hectic schedule.

Edwards admits he was disappointed by the response after he made a request for the meeting in a letter sent on September 14. This followed a verbal request he made at a Conversations with the Prime Minister at the St Augustine Secondary School when Rowley said he would be happy to meet with Edwards once he got the correspondence.

Edwards said three months after sending the letter when he got no response from Office of the Prime Minister, he sent a second letter on November 17.

It was only on Monday that he was contacted by a secretary from the Office of the Prime Minister who told him the Prime Minister could not meet with him.

Edwards took to Facebook to complain that the Prime Minister had “blatantly demonstrated” he has no desire to understand the importance of youth to national development.

Edwards said he was told Rowley wants Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Darryl Smith to host the meeting and whatever is agreed upon or discussed will be communicated to him. But Edwards said he felt insulted because he had previously met with the Smith and did not feel the minister was doing justice to the youth portfolio. He subsequently wrote to the Smith requesting further meetings but got no response.

Edwards, who said he has no political affiliation, said his objective in meeting with the Prime Minister is simply for the Government to get a real understanding of youth development. He said often those in authority feel youth development is about “putting money in sports programmes, education and social welfare.”

He said: “Young people are locked out of the decision-making process.”

“While it may seem I speak on behalf of elite young people that is not the case. I have interacted with young people who are under-served. Many of the services the State provides does not reach them and many opportunities available do not make their way to their emails or to their conversations,” he said.

He believes if more young people are given opportunities, crime and violence will decrease.

“Young people engage in crime and violence because they don’t see hope or see light at the end of the tunnel in terms of what is available,” Edwards said.