By: Stevenson Manners
Nevisians should feel a sense of outrage the morning after, and way into the future, after their leadership last night snubbed the 25 Most Remarkable Teens in the Federation.
Among them were nine (9) Nevisians, a record in the fourth staging of the event, yet only the Hon. Patrice Nisbett, the representative for Nevis 11, was on hand to applaud the outstanding efforts of our youths. Missing in action for the second consecutive year were Premier Vance Amory and the Hon. Mark Brantley.
More than a quarter of those honoured last night came from the constituencies Messrs. Amory and Brantley represent in the Federal Parliament. This is unforgivable.
Four (4) of the awardees came from Nevis 10 represented by the Hon. Vance Amory: Sadiki Tyson (Scholar Athlete), Nicoyann Blackett (Spiritual Commitment), Leandre Dyer (Spiritual Commitment), and Neila Jones, the 2013 Caribbean Junior Minister of Tourism (Youth Activism and Humanitarianism). One wonders if the Premier will extend apologies to recent graduates Sadiki, Leandre and Neila or newly installed teacher Nicoyann when he takes to the podium at the Gingerland Secondary next Thursday for that school’s Graduation Ceremony.
Three (3) were from Nevis 9 represented by the Hon. Mark Brantley: Gene Amory Jr. (Cultural Preservation & Music) , Nayala Daniel ( Music & Courage to Overcome) and State Scholar Chloe Williams (Courage to Overcome & Scholar Athlete).
Nayala and Chloe’s stories drove me close to tears last night. Nayala at 18, has for the last few years mothered her three younger siblings after her mother passed in 2012, while excelling in music and academics and overcoming great odds.
Chloe, a three-time valedictorian saw her mother stricken by cancer in 2011, but never lost focus. In 2013, this 100 and 200 meter specialist, represented the Federation at the World Youth Games in the Ukraine. Just last Wednesday, she was lauded as the State’s Scholar.
“Balancing the academics and track took a lot of strategizing” her profile read.
It begs the question, as I heard asked on radio this morning – if her representative’s daughter was nominated last night (as I am sure she will be next year) would he have been absent.
The other two (2) honorees were from Constituency 11 represented by the Hon. Patrice Nisbett: Clayticia Daniel (Leadership), Rashida Williams (Community Involvement & Scholar Athlete).
I applaud the parliamentarians present, led by Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas who gamely stepped up to the plate and executed the plan to make Wednesday’s event put on by the Ministry of Youth Empowerment a memorable occasion for our young charges, their parents, teachers and all of civil society.
Leaders should be able to rise above petty party politics and honour outstanding teens in our Federation. As adults we are quick to blame them when they display deviant behavior.
Last night (Nov. 19)the Loyal Opposition failed the nation and its youth – and that is national shame.
The Minister of Youth Affairs the Hon. Glen Phillip, Director of Youth Empowerment Ms. Chereca Weaver and her staff, and parliamentarians on the government side should take a bow.
Sadly, we can’t ask the opposition to do the same.