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Oct 26, 2015

Belize Youth Movement Launches Agenda For Now

Alberto Vellos

A youth senator…that’s one of the proposals that the youth arm of the People’s United Party put forth in a manifesto last Saturday. The document, called Agenda For Now, also seeks to promote education, arts and culture and the general empowerment of the youth. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Alberto Vellos, President, Belize Youth Movement

“Agenda for Now represents defiance in the face of a system that tells young people you need to just be spectators as we fool around and sometimes mess up your country.”

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

“AGENDA FOR NOW”: a vision for Youth and Culture Development was launched to the public on Saturday morning at the Image Factory in Belize City. The proposal was made by the Belize Youth Movement; the youth arm of the People’s United Party and seeks to promote youth empowerment, art and culture advancement and national development. A youth himself, the current P.U.P. candidate for Orange Walk East addressed the gathering.

 

Josue Carballo

Josue Carballo, P.U.P. Candidate, Orange Walk East

“The People’s United Party recognizes that our young people are the nation’s most important resource and that while they represent the future of Belize, they must be treated as critical partners in today’s development. Beyond the future, I believe that our young people are currently strongly molding our present. We ask for equality, for a voice, for representation. The P.U.P. is committed to unlocking the full potential of our young people so that they could directly contribute to our nation’s political and socioeconomic development—at the community, neighborhood and national level.”

 

Aside from providing free education to students from preschool to sixth form, the agenda also focuses on the introduction of a youth senator. But for artist, Katie Usher and former President of the National Institute of Culture and History, Yasser Musa, art and culture have been neglected.

 

Yasser Musa

Yasser Musa, Former President, NICH

“How do we develop a culture of art activism that will connect to the responsibility to build up our society? How do we align the power of youth with the work of culture and education? To design and create a new, progressive, democratic destiny that is infused with the particles of your dreams, the particles of your hopes and desires. Think about this. Cultural production makes a world; cultural production makes a world—your world, the youth world, the music, the art, the poetry, the video, the web, the writing, the education.”

 

Katie Usher

Katie Usher, Artist

“The first blow to culture was the ridged and sustained neglect of culture workers and consequently Belizean culture by the current administration. Access to art was locked away behind yards of bureaucratic BS—and please excuse me principal, Mercy girls are not supposed to talk like this, but this is how passionate I feel. And of course they change chips. The new focus was to develop a carnival product so here we are again like in our past when we pretended an Englishness, later then we pretended a United States of American-ness, now pretending a Jamaican-ness and Trinidadian-ness. I know that it is a political thing, so I especially want to thank the P.U.P. for always, always providing a space for youth, for education, for sports and for culture. All of these things are key to me.”

 

P.U.P. Party Leader Francis Fonseca was himself a BYM leader before becoming Freetown area rep and now party leader. He says that it is a bold, progressive agenda that will help to give the youth a voice.

 

Francis Fonseca

Francis Fonseca, P.U.P. Leader

“This agenda today is about ensuring that we respect young people; that we give young people a voice, a eat at the table; that they are involved and engaged in the decision making process that affects them directly. That is critically important. That we are saying to them, these are our plans, but you are a part of that planning process. You need to be involved and engaged at every level of our governance in country. I think that is critically important. So that is what this agenda today is all about—youth and culture. And it is also about reawakening our culture; bringing back, if you like, a renaissance to culture. In our view, culture and the arts have been abandoned for the last seven years. We need another revolution in arts and culture.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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