Fri | Oct 20, 2017

Apathy has taken over our youth – Barnes

Published:Thursday | December 22, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Shemar Barnes, People's National Party Youth Organisation constituency representative for South East Clarendon.

MAY PEN, Clarendon:

The People's National Party Youth Organisation (PNPYO) constituency representative for South East Clarendon and Clarendon parish chairman, Shemar Barnes, is longing to see the day when Jamaica can become a republic and "leaders stop paying lip service to corruption".

"If more attention is placed on stomping out corruption and empowering our people, then Jamaica will be the country to live, raise families and do business," he told Rural Xpress.

An economics student at the University of Technology (UTech), Barnes reflects on the recently held general and local government elections, bemoaning the fact that "apathy has taken over and it's really unfortunate. But I somewhat understand why persons are not so inclined to vote. One reason is that there is little to no accountability and transparency in how our leaders and government institutions conduct the people's business," he said.

 

Demand more from the leaders

 

The solution for the youth leader is for persons to rise up and demand more from the leaders.

Barnes, in sharing his vision for the PNPYO - the youth arm of the PNP responsible for recruiting young persons - is that they will be committed to the ideals of democracy, youth participation in nation building and economic empowerment for all.

"The movement has been good to me and I see myself moving up to make a greater impact. I want to see a greater level of youth participation in decision making; not enough of this is being done. Also, there is need for a greater level of accountability and transparency from the leadership," said Barnes, who is also the chief organiser and representative of the organisation for both the constituency and the parish.

He said it was natural for him to get involved in the political movement as he has always had an interest in politics - especially the People's National Party.

His interest eventually led to his involvement in 2013 when he started UTech.

The 20-year-old, who is now in his final year, declares himself as a political enthusiast who believes in Jamaica and what it can become.

"My goal is to have my own economic consultancy firm and be a political representative," he shared on his long-term plans.

Barnes, although somewhat disappointed in young persons' seeming lack of interest in the political process, said he thinks things are changing.

"Young people are beginning to understand that becoming a part of the process has it benefits; their voices will be heard and so, too, their contributions. Progress is being made," said Barnes.

It is on this view that he is encouraging all young persons to be their best selves.

"Always believe in yourself and your dreams. As Gandhi said, be the change you want to see!"

- Cecelia Campbell Livingston