PYO 65th An­niver­sary

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6 2017, marks the 65th an­niver­sary of the found­ing of the Pro­gres­sive Youth Or­gan­i­sa­tion, arm of the Peo­ple’s Pro­gres­sive Party.

Be­ing o n e of the most es­tab­lished youth or­ga­ni­za­tion, it was able over the years to or­ga­nize tens of thousands of young Guyanese into ac­tive so­cial and po­lit­i­cal life es­pe­cially dur­ing the years of strug­gles against bri­tish colo­nial­ism and the tram­pling of rights, free­doms and liv­ing con­di­tions un­der the PNC dic­ta­tor­ship.

The name of the or­gan­i­sa­tion at the time of its found­ing was the Pi­o­neer Youth League of Bri­tish Guiana, with Brind­ley Benn as the sec­re­tary. In Fe­bru­ary 1953, the Pi­o­neer Youth League be­came an af­fil­i­ate of the World Fed­er­a­tion of Demo­cratic Youth then later changed its name to the Pro­gres­sive Youth Or­gan­i­sa­tion.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion was banned along with sev­eral oth­ers, but it still sprang up from time to time un­der names such as the De­mer­ara Youth League and all other dif­fer­ent types of names to try and carry out its ac­tiv­i­ties. This was a time, the pres­i­dent said, that mem­bers of the party were un­able t o move about freely, hence the youth arm had a vi­tal role to play in spread­ing its mes­sages to sup­port­ers.

The pe­riod of the late 1960s and early 1970s saw the rig­ging of elec­tions by the PNC and be­cause of their mil­i­tancy many PYO along with PPP mem­bers were jailed, their fam­i­lies sub­jected to il­le­gal home searches but protests were still or­ga­nized.

The PYO made ster­ling con­tri­bu­tions in the fight against colo­nial­ism and for democ­racy in Guyana.

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