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May 29, 2015

Belize Youth Leaders Forum Held in the Old Capital

Guide Light Productions rolled into prominence earlier this year when they launched by breaking up an old car with messages. And ever since then, they’ve hit the ground running. Today they took on another ambitious initiative they’ve dubbed “Belize Youth Leaders Forum” With partners and sponsors, youth leaders from across the country gathered in the city today to discuss topical issues because they say they want to be a part of the solution. Andrea Polanco stopped in at the forum to talk with participants. Here’s that story.


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Over a hundred young people participated in Belize Youth Leaders Forum. The goal is to have the participants take a proactive role in the development of their communities.


Andrew Munnings

Andrew Munnings, President, Guidelight Productions

“I had a dream that one day young people in Belize would actually look at themselves and see what role they play.  They are wonderful. They are not tomorrow, not next week, they are right now. So, what we are telling them today is that you guys have been explaining for years and years about what the government hasn’t done and what your parents haven’t done, so ask yourself what have you not done? Because we hear a lot of complaints but we’ve never heard solutions.”


Two youth leaders say this is exactly why they are a part of the event.


Chinyere Wade, BELSAC

“As a youth, I found this very positive and very helpful. So, I came to learn and see what I can give back.”


Diamond Hulett, Wesley College

“As a youth myself, I want to be a leader and see my other youths be a leader as well. I am tired of seeing many crimes and downfall in our country, so being here I am trying to learn and voice my opinions on what should be done.”


Chinyere Wade

Andrea Polanco

“So, you really think that we’re going to see some change?”


Diamond Hulett

“Of course, we are going to see some change big time.”


Munnings says that following the discussions, a declaration will be made.


Andrew Munnings

“We have about eight groups, and around the eight groups we have about fifteen youths each and each group has one given topic. We have education, youth and crime, youth participation, health, transportation. In those groups, you have two mature, trained moderators that will help them bring out their information in a clearer way when it is time to present it to the ministers this afternoon.”


Andrea Polanco

“So, after they’ve presented it to the ministers, I understand that a declaration will be made. Talk to me about what that will be like?”


Andrew Munnings

“Yes, this will be, and I am proud to say the first youth declaration that will present not only to the government, but to all schools; everybody that has a role to play in the youth development and that’s the entire country. So, this afternoon we will have Hon. Longsworth, Dolores Balderamos, the mayor, and all these people will sit comfortably on the sofa set on the stage and the youth presenters will go up and present the declaration and after that whichever youths have questions and comments that they want to put to the ministers, they can do that in a professional way.”


The interactive sessions allow for sharing of ideas on topics like transportation and youth and crime.


Diamond Hulett

Chinyere Wade

“Some of the challenges that we talked about was the availability and reliability of the transportation, whether it is land, air or water and how these things affect most of us especially students getting to class. And some solutions that we spoke about are that we need to provide more of these transportation.”


Andrea Polanco

“From what you’ve discussed, would you say it is really an issue for youths, particularly in Belize City?”


Chinyere Wade

“I would think so, yes. Because some of the students who need to be at school for eight o’clock you’d want them to be early but they can’t because of how the bus system work.  One example that was given was those from Biscayne Area they have to walk out to catch a bus. That is something that we spoke about and instead of having students walk out and catch the bus; the bus can go in and pick them up. Yes, we know that road is a problem and that is another issue that must be dealt with by them fixing the road so that it can be accessible by students and the bus people.”


Diamond Hulett

“The major issue is the home. The home is supposed to mold the minds of our youth. The home is supposed to bring back that power and try to mold our youths. We are trying to make our institutions a better place for learning so that our young people can have high self esteem and go out into the world and better themselves.”


So, what’s next? Munnings says a review will be done and he’s positive that they are going to see this initiative through.


Andrew Munnings

“The six months period, we’d like to call that the report card. That declaration today and in November we will our youth forum and we will play ads and let the public know our wish list. So, when Christmas time come we wah see if Santa actually come through fu wi this year. The difference between this and any other forums, is that those forums were created by adults. This forum, right through thoroughly, yes it is supported by the Department of Youth Services, Belize Kids First Organization, Love Foundation, adults are behind us, but all the ideas and everything you’ve seen in there, those are from the youths. By us doing all these things, it just means we are tired and we are ready to just step up as leaders.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Andrea Polanco.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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