Youths set to elect national leaders Print E-mail
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Thursday, 25 February 2016 00:00

stafin duncan 1.jpg - 103.71 KbA number of active youth will be making their way to designated polling stations across the country on Monday, February 29, to elect their District Youth Councils, from which a Belize National Youth Council will be selected. Young men and women in the 18 to 26 age group are vying for posts of President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer and Public Relations Officer of their respective District Councils. The campaigns are spirited and modernized with social media being the most accessed platform to reach voters.

Voters are selected by youth groups registered with the Department of Youth Services. Each registered youth group was allowed to select two members as delegates for the district elections. The names had to be submitted by February 12 to allow candidates to have a two week window to make their pitch directly to voters. As mentioned earlier, most of the campaigning is being done on social media platforms. However, the Department of Youth Services is organizing youth rallies countrywide to give candidates an opportunity to address delegates in person.

In Belize City, a parade and rally was held on Friday, February 19. The parade started in front of St. John’s College on Princess Margaret Drive, proceeded through the principal streets of the city and ended at the Battlefield Park for a rally. After a brief musical interlude, the candidates were given two minutes each to make their pitch to delegates in attendance.

The presentations were based on how they would execute the duties of the office they seek. According to the Department of the Youth Services, the President is responsible to preside over all meetings of the District Youth Council and the District Youth Council Executive. He/she is responsible for the general supervision and administration of the Council and Executive. The President is a co-signatory for cheques of the District Youth Council, an ex-officio member of all standing, special and advisory committees and have the authority to speak on behalf of the District Youth Council. She/he sits on the Executive Body of the National Youth Council and ensure that the mandates directed by the National Executive and National Council be carried out. Every President must compile, submit and present a progress report for their District Youth Council at the National Council meetings and shall perform any other functions that are assigned to him/her from time to time by the National Council, the District Youth Council or the Council’s Constitution and By-laws.

The Presidents of all District Youth Councils will make up the National Youth Council of Belize. The aim of the National Youth Council of Belize is to “provide a platform for youth voices to be heard”. Its main responsibility is to “ensure that the National Youth Policy is actualized and relevant to addressing the situation of adolescents and youth in Belize.” The Council will provide the opportunity for youth to participate in decision making nationally and internationally.

The President of the National Youth Council will represent Belize on the Caribbean Regional Youth Council (CRYC). The Regional Youth Council is “the collective voice of National Youth Councils and represents the voice of youth for the Caribbean.” It was established at the 3rd Caribbean Youth Leaders’ Summit’ in 2013 with the inaugural Executive Board elected. According to CRYC, its main strategic objective is “to secure itself as a strategic youth governance and advocacy movement with one voice, working towards regional representation, integration and cooperation as a platform for youth development.” 

Here at the Guardian Newspaper, we are endorsing Stafin Duncan for President of the Belize District Youth Council. Duncan says, “I believe in the strength of a unified youth voice and plan to create an environment for our voices to join forces through this very council.” Duncan pledges to work tirelessly to “ensure the Council collectively works to produce elements that address the issues our young men and women are facing today.” Duncan is a committed youth advocate; a tested and proven young leader. He was an important force behind the Belize Young Professionals’ prompt response to the needs of flood victims in Belize City in October of 2015. Duncan and a group of colleagues visited shelters for days delivering warm food and clean clothing. It is one of the many acts of kindness that he chose not to broadcast. Best wishes to Stafin Duncan as he offers himself to serve a greater number of his peers.

Last Updated on Friday, 26 February 2016 10:46