In a condensed but highly informative presentation at Monday’s ‘Manifesto Launch’ of the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP), Chairman of the Party and definite ambassador for youth in the twin-isle, Paul ‘Chet’ Greene gave the commitment that he alongside his colleagues in the ABLP will provide the unprecedented care and attention to the nation’s youth going forward immediately after being sworn in as the new Government.
Greene not only teased out the mischief and neglect left by the United Progressive Party’s (UPP) ill-treatment and almost abandonment of youth, sports, and culture, but he was able to establish that under the ABLP these three portfolios would be empowered as part of a dynamic turn towards ensuring that the youth are brought into the “mainstream of decision-making and policy formulation” by encouraging and giving them opportunities to meaningfully serve on boards and other structures of the country’s internal governance.
Establishing the situation in which a considerable proportion of the country’s population fall into an under 25 age range (although the universal standard for young people is 35 and below), Green asserted the ABLP’s stance will be one of including, encouraging, listening to, and empowering the youth. The ABLP Chairman said that the youth are “very important in the policies that are designed for governance and decisions and, “they should have a strong voice and be treated as “equal members,” with “equal voice, equal vote.”
Indeed, before delving into the inspiring manifesto, Greene allayed to the reality that the things being advanced by the ABLP with regards to the three dimensions of sports, youth, and culture were inherently simple and yet profound against the background that “young people are not only inheritors of the future, they are very much a part of the present.” This statement alone captures the concepts of traditions, values, and the societal mores upon which each generation work not just for survival, but to produce and reproduce, to transform and rejuvenate, to achieve and create the sustainability which obviously became misplaced under the past few years of UPP neglect.
For example, in referencing to land programmes initiated under a previous ABLP administration, Greene referenced that today, there are “many young men and women who have made down payments before 2004 for their land” and unconscionable they “have not received any word on their payments for land,” from the dithering and hardly ever caring UPP. Greene is adamant that with an ABLP administration in place after June 12th, the ABLP “will conduct and audit” and look to fast forward the process in which people are not just land-owners, but that they could become home-owners.
With the ABLP’s Gaston Browne already assuring the population that the ABLP will “reduce the cost of crown land to $2.50 a square foot,” Chet Greene was able to impress upon the youth and the nation, that all may appear brown now, but with Greene and the ABLP at the helm, brighter days will be coming to the country in terms of their inclusion and access to opportunity, property, and those things that keep a culture vibrant, a society together, and growth constant. The ABLP’s game-plan, and its objectives are riveting, inspiring, and seems absolutely set to revolutionise the country over the next five years.
Green spoke to a “comprehensive plan” for example, regarding the re-organisation of every level of sports in the country and the view to having a wider cadre of teachers, coaches, and the youngsters mobilised to reclaim the glory days of Antigua’s participation in sports, and to once again produce persons of the excellence and ilk of Sir Vivian Richards among other outstanding national sportspersons.
Chet Green, Gaston Browne, and the ABLP can take a bow for having the imagination, tenacity, and foresight to bring an approach to youth and the country which shows unprecedented levels of care and dedication to rescuing the sick patient left by the UPP, and rebuilding a nation that has too much promise to be languishing as has been the case for the better part of the last decade. It matters to the ABLP, it matters to the youth, it matters to the nation. Antigua and Barbuda, it matters!
Press release by caribtimes.com