Friday 22nd September, 2006


Dion Jeffers

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Dion Jeffers

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End of a chapter

In his book Let Him Go, Bishop TD Jakes speaks about the many chapters in life. He discusses the move from childhood to teenager to adulthood and describes each as a stage preparing us for the next step.

Jakes declares that many of us are afraid to move on in life because we feel so comfortable about the stage we are at. The future is unpredictable while things in the present are going so well for us we become content.

However, just like the natural evolution of man from a baby to a senior, we all have to accept that we have to move on at some point in time.

A 40-year-old man can never be as agile as when he was 17 and so, whether we choose to accept it or not, moving on is inevitable.

In November 2005, I opened a new chapter in my life, a chapter which saw me as chairman of the PNM National Youth League. Today I close that chapter.

I have decided to move on and so have relinquished my responsibilities as chairman of the league, allowing someone else to take over the mantle of responsibility.

This was achieved via the democratic process, which this country holds in high esteem, over the last weekend, when I decided to step down and allow three bright young individuals to vie for the position.

Today, a new face has taken over the reigns of leadership of the youth league and whereas the PNM’s democratic position allows for one person to hold one position at a time, there will be no question as to who the leader is.

The last ten months are indeed memorable for me, especially as a columnist.

In December of 2005, I wrote my first column, indicating my intention to address issues of national and international importance through the eyes of youth. Week after week, with the help of my comrade Wesley George, the voice of youth was heard.

Looking back

Many of these columns were embraced by you the reader and some were not. Some of you attempted to thwart the efforts and misconstrue the opinions set out in this column, allowing blind political leanings to dictate and cloud rational judgment.

Then there were those of you who offered words of encouragement and objectively identified some of the flaws.

Finally, there were those who complimented the efforts that this column sought to achieve.

All of these responses were openly embraced and together they helped to keep the commentaries as balanced as possible and helped the columnist to fully embrace the differences of opinion which we share in this diverse land and of ours.

Many of the commentaries which you received were as a result of the occurrences of that period.

One of the earlier columns asked citizens to embrace the Christmas spirit throughout the year since it is only at this occasion that we become our brother’s keeper.

Later on, I identified how the behaviour of our young people today was directly linked to the attitudes portrayed by the elders in society, a fact which must never be ignored.

The power of the consumer was highlighted in March and with the ever increasing cost of living, we the consumers need to understand how powerful we are. We don’t have to sit back and wait for the Government to bring inflation under control. Instead, we, by our purchasing power, can dictate the price and the quality of goods we receive.

A plea was made in August for young black men in particular to “free your minds.” That call is again reverberated. Young people, we need to stand up and be counted and start taking charge of our lives.

And of course the political situation did not escape mention as the “civil rights circus” saw a civil rights movement headed by UNC politicians who withdrew T&T from being a member of the American Convention on Human Rights.

Another political issue which was dealt with was the accusations by the Opposition (at the time there was only one) of “ethnic cleansing” by the the Government because of its attempts to remove Chief Justice Satnarine Sharma, whose character came into question.

Ironically, Justice Sharma was a PNM nominee for the position while Dr Linda Baboolal and Barendra Sinanan were the PNM’s nominees and currently sit as Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives, respectively.

Looking ahead

Despite having decided not to continue as chairman of such a prestigious organisation, my services to the league and the party have not ended. I continue to sit as a member of the new executive of the league, where I continue to work on ensuring that the voice of youth is not just heard but is responded to.

My responsibility as a member of the Tunapuna constituency as well as the many other committees, political as well as non-political, has not been overshadowed and my commitment continues.

To all who helped shaped this column in the past few months, I say thank you. May God continue to richly bless you.

Deon Jeffers is outgoing chairman of the PNM National Youth League


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