First Lady says...
Society must condemn criminal activities in one voice
Guyana Chronicle
October 29, 2002

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FIRST Lady Varshnie Jagdeo has joined in condemnation of the criminal activities now sweeping the country and said the rest of society should do likewise.

"We need to condemn these acts with one voice and not tolerate this lawlessness that has been consuming our society lately," she said last Friday, in a message to the fourth 'Youth can move the World'.

The programme which puts focus on some problems faced by the target group, including with HIV/AIDS, job security, age and sexuality, was staged at School of the Nations, in Barrack Street, Kingston, Georgetown.

The event was organised by Varqa Foundation, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), Institute of Distance and Continuing Education (IDCE) and the Baha'i organisation.

Mrs Jagdeo was to declare open the activity but had her remarks read by Mrs O'Toole, wife of Varqa Foundation Chairman, Dr Brian O'Toole.

The First Lady stated that, instead of being impatient to see an end to these acts of violence, society behaves as though it is very normal and no longer seems to be surprised when incidents occur.

She encouraged youths to see each other as Guyanese and help each other in whatever way they could, cherishing family, neighbour and society at large, in an effort to help stop the robbery and murder.

Mrs Jagdeo said the goal of every Guyanese should be the development of a peaceful and prosperous Guyana for all its citizens.

She declared it is the responsibility of society to ensure that elders, too, are protected and healthily living without fear.

According to her, this must be done because people are the country's wealth and, without such protection, by youths and elders, society will fail.

Mrs Jagdeo advised youths that anything they want to achieve in life could be achieved with simple qualities such as honesty, simplicity, dedication, respect and love.

But education is important to being successful and, although there is nothing wrong with success, for it to be rewarding, it must be used for uplifting the less fortunate.

The First Lady encouraged the young people to live a peaceful life, by looking out for each other and not destroying each other.

She said reviving community spirit, regardless of creed, race or political affiliation, is the way forward for Guyana and, when this is done, then, probably, peace would not continue to elude the country.

Mrs Jagdeo said the objective can be attained by taking interest in neighbours, making sure they have food to eat and clothes to wear.

In his speech, Dr O' Toole explained that the series was initiated in response to some of the difficulties experienced by youths.

For the purpose, youths are chosen from areas of Guyana like Lethem, Santa Rosa, Georgetown, Linden and Buxton and made facilitators to respond to concerns at both the social and spiritual levels.

Those selected go through a period of training before being sent back to their respective communities to educate their peers about what they have learnt.

O'Toole said the process has the challenge of showing the older generation that Guyana can be united.

IDCE Director, Mr. Samuel Small described it is a positive, dynamic concept, because young people are the ones who will help this country develop.

He said it is a greatly challenging task that demands a lot from the human spirit and acknowledged that negative ideas first need to be changed for the country to progress.

Mr Small said the youths must be self-disciplined and hard working, as in the current circumstances, young people face a daunting future.

He agreed that, especially the young people, are the country's greatest resource and should, therefore, work together to make it a better place.

Assistant UNICEF Representative, Dr Sreelakshmi Gururaja and Chairman of National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Guyana, Mrs Evelyn Hamilton also spoke on the occasion and dances were performed by School of the Nations Dance Group.