Introduction: Shaping the Future With Love

The Unity Labour Party Youth Manifesto 2015
Table of Contents

The Unity Labour Party (ULP) government is rightly seen by the overwhelming majority of young people (aged 15 to 35 years) as the most youth-focused in the history of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  We in the ULP do not see the youths as “problems” as they are so often caricatured by the opposition NDP; we see them as real flesh-and-blood human beings who are possessed of immense strengths and possibilities which must be developed and harnessed, to the fullest, in shaping their future, their families’ future, and the nation’s future, for the better. This philosophical and visionary starting point is a vital pre-requisite to the fashioning of policies and practical programmes for young people. We thus reaffirm our ongoing commitment to secure the optimal conditions for the young people to soar like eagles with their wings unclipped.

First, let us address the relevant demographics of our country.  The population data, according to the 2012 Census, contain the following information: (i) Children up to 14 years of age number 26,905 or 24 percent out of a total population of 109,188; (ii) Young people aged 15 to 29 years number 26,836 or 24 percent of the total population; (iii) the age cohort 30 to 34 years has 7,863 persons or 7 percent of the total population. (Thus, children and young persons up to the age of 34 years number some 55 percent of the total population); (iv) the population aged 35 to 59 amounts to 28,722 or 26 percent of the total population; (v) the population aged 60 to 74 years numbers 9,198 or 8 percent of the total population; (vi) the population 75 years and over amounts to 4,613 or 4 percent of the total population; thus the population comprising older persons (60 years and above) amounts to 13,811 or 12 percent of the total population.

Still, the comparative population data show that the percentage of the population between the 15 – 24 years range declined between 2001 and 2012, consistent with the fall in birth rates over the last decade.  At the same time, the population aged 60 years and above shows an increase of 31.5 percent in 2012 compared to 2001. All of this has profound implications for public policy and for inter-generational relations in the family/society.

There are three CENTRAL OBJECTIVES of the ULP government’s Youth Policy: (i) Empowering young persons to contribute meaningfully to national development; (ii) Highlighting and addressing public awareness of the policy/programmes of youth development issues and their implementation; and (iii) Fostering among young people the ideals of social harmony, mutual respect, cultural heritage, the tried and tested values of our Caribbean civilisation, including its Vincentian component, and the vitality of regional/international solidarity/cooperation. Each of these three Central Objectives has a bundle of strategic interventions. They constitute together the basis for the further elaboration of our National Youth Policy and a Work Plan 2016 to 2020.

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