NYC prez weighs in on al­leged threat against PM!

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By

Toni Ni­cholas

After post­ing the HTS news re­port head­lined “SLP wants threats against PM in­ves­ti­gated” on his Face­book page, out­go­ing pres­i­dent of the Na­tional Youth Coun­cil, Ti­mothy Fer­di­nand, wrote: “Disturbing. But re­minds me of the swell in the at­mos­phere . . . the tsunami of frus­tra­tion that per­me­ates the air. Our gov­ern­ments in the re­gion need to take this very se­ri­ously and quickly em­bark on a road to the restora­tion of hope and con­fi­dence in the hearts and minds of our youth.

“The CCYD 2010 re­port did speak to the grow­ing hope­less­ness among youth and we have surely seen a spike in the rate of sui­cides and crime . . . again, very disturbing.”

The FB post in ques­tion cen­tered around a young guest on Rick Wayne’s TALK who had re­called a con­ver­sa­tion with his friends, one of whom said he felt like “killing the prime min­is­ter.”

The CCYD re­port that Fer­di­nand cited ex­pressed grave con­cern about the “high lev­els of anger, hos­til­ity, de­pres­sion, sui­cide, alien­ation and hope­less­ness, in par­tic­u­lar among the 15 to 29 age co­hort.”

This week I spoke with Fer­di­nand on the is­sue. “In light of the men­tioned re­port,” he said, “it comes as no sur­prise that there is this cli­mate of frus­tra­tion among young peo­ple. Frus­tra­tion and hope­less­ness among young peo­ple caused by un­em­ploy­ment.”

By Fer­di­nand’s ac­count a re­cent World Bank Study (yet to be pub­lished) re­veals that the un­em­ploy­ment rate for 2014 has risen to 47%.

“That, cou­pled with the eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion and the crime rate, does not in­spire in any way our young peo­ple.”

As an NGO, Fer­di­nand told the STAR, the NYC has been pro­mot­ing a cli­mate of en­trepreneur­ship among young peo­ple. How­ever, even that had its chal­lenges due to lack of fund­ing and the in­abil­ity to source loans or start-up cap­i­tal for small busi­nesses.

“Another prob­lem is em­ploy­a­bil­ity,” Fer­di­nand says. “We are of­ten un­able to ac­cess jobs be­cause of in­ex­pe­ri­ence and em­ploy­ers are re­luc­tant for var­i­ous rea­sons to invest in train­ing and in­tern­ship.”

As for the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem, Fer­di­nand’s in­ter­ac­tion with young peo­ple is­land-wide has re­vealed they con­sider it is woe­fully in­ad­e­quate.

“This is a ma­jor is­sue,” said the NYC pres­i­dent. “Young peo­ple nor­mally com­plain that the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem is not pre­par­ing them ad­e­quately for the world of work. We also have to con­sider the neg­a­tive im­pact of glob­al­iza­tion on jobs. Our youth are not be­ing pre­pared to meet the de­mands of the tech­no­log­i­cal age as they re­late even to agri­cul­ture and tourism.”

Asked about the im­pact of par­ti­san pol­i­tics, also a con­cern of the CCYD, Fer­di­nand said: “Young peo­ple are ba­si­cally fed up when it comes to pol­i­tics. When we at­tend var­i­ous fora we al­ways end up ar­gu­ing and dis­cussing the is­sue of red or yel­low. Young peo­ple see through the prom­ises in the man­i­festoes, and the out­landish cam­paign pledges. The young peo­ple we have right now, the young lead­ers, have ex­pe­ri­enced past ad­min­is­tra­tions and it is my hope that for the up­com­ing elec­tions they will be able to make more in­formed de­ci­sions.”

Spe­cific to the com­ments on last Thurs­day’s TALK, Fer­di­nand said: “The first thing I would state clearly to any young frus­trated per­sons is that re­sort­ing to vi­o­lence or harm­ing or threat­en­ing another hu­man be­ing is wrong. There are av­enues for ex­press­ing frus­tra­tion and that is why you have pres­sure groups, NGOs and the right to or­ga­nize peace­ful protest.”

I asked: “If you were a leader, how would you han­dle des­per­ate out­bursts by ob­vi­ously frus­trated young peo­ple?”

“I am tempted not to com­ment on that one,” Fer­di­nand said with a chuckle. “Okay, first of all we must be able to put out the mes­sage that young per­sons should be care­ful how they ex­press them­selves. There has to be re­spect at all lev­els. But lead­er­ship also has to en­sure cit­i­zens, es­pe­cially young cit­i­zens, have av­enues for free ex­pres­sion, which our Con­sti­tu­tion guar­an­tees. There is, too, the mat­ter of hu­man rights and due process. As re­ports and stud­ies on such is­sues in­di­cate in this re­gard, it leaves a lot to be de­sired.”

Out­go­ing NYC Pres­i­dent Ti­mothy Fer­di­nand shares his

thoughts with the STAR.

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