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Diasporian News of Thursday, 10 June 2010

Source: NDC UK/Ireland Youth

NDC UK & Ireland Youth Wing Holds June 4th Symposium

The Youth Wing of the UK & Ireland Chapter of Ghana's National Democratic Congress (NDC) party held a symposium to mark the June 4th Uprising. The symposium was organised in collaboration with the Milton Keynes Ward of the party at the Tinkers Bridge Meeting Hall, Marshworth in Milton Keynes on Saturday June 5th. The symposium was well attended by members of the UK & Ireland Chapter of the NDC as well sympathisers and the many Ghanaians who had earlier descended on the city to watch Ghana’s Black Stars take on their Latvian counterparts.

Key note speakers at the symposium included Dr. Ekwow Spio Garbrah, A Communications expert and National Vice Chairman of the NDC and, Mr Joe Gans-Lartey, a Lawyer and Crown Prosecutor and former Vice Chairman of NDC UK & Ireland Chapter, and Dr Lawrence Akwetey, a Development Economist and former PRO of the NDC UK & Ireland Chapter.

The programme started with a two minute silence for the departed relatives of some members of UK/Ireland Chapter as well as for the fallen heroes of the June 4th Uprising. The Chairman for the occasion Spinoza Ayisi-Aboah (First Deputy Youth Organiser) urged comrades to keep the flame and spirit of June 4th burning and to vigorously support the delivery of the Better Ghana Agenda.

On his part, Peter Kumadi, the Chairman of Milton Keynes Ward in his welcome address, lamented the loss of the importance of the June 4th Uprising on some members of the NDC. He urged the youth to keep the flame burning and to help rid the country of corrupt entities and practices. He thanked the Youth Wing of the UK/Ireland Chapter for organising the symposium and urged them to walk slowly but surely in delivering change and growth to the Chapter and to work towards the achievement of the Better Ghana Agenda.

The immediate past Vice Chairman of the UK & Ireland Chapter Joe Gans-Lartey, speaking on the headline topic; ‘June 4th Uprising, Setting Ghana on the Path to Modern Day Democracy’, noted that the catalogue of failings of the ruling elite and successive regimes and governments after the overthrow of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah necessitated the uprising led by junior officers. He argued that conditions were so bad that had Ghana been a motor vehicle, it would have failed its road safety test (MOT) and would have been written off the road.

The June 4th Uprising, he said, represented and still represents a turning point when Ghanaians took their destiny into their own hands to change things for the better. He highlighted the participatory democratic spirit and principles at the heart of the uprising as well as the PNDC regime which followed and their impact on democracy through grassroots empowerment and involvement. Therefore, he was of the view that the empty noises from the opposition to debase the relevance of June 4th should never be allowed to happen, and that it was a ploy being used to dim the flame of June 4th and to go back to their ways of draining the country. It is important he said, that Ghanaians especially youth keep the flame burning and never allow themselves to be misled into allowing this perpetual flame to diminish.

Dr Lawrence Akwetey spoke on the topic; ‘Overcoming Youth Unemployment and Disengagement in Ghana’. He explored the various definitions and concepts of unemployment and narrowed these down to the Ghanaian context. He also examined the historical patterns and factors leading to the current levels of unemployment in Ghana; recalling that the popular slogan of Ghana’s first President was ‘work and happiness’ which had become a hit high life tune. He argued that a complex mix of factors were responsible for youth unemployment notably poor educational outcomes and skills, limited industrial backbone or focus, poor health, lack of family support, location (rural/urban), limited financial and credit facilities and frameworks, poor affordable housing blue print, lack of a broader and bi-partisan youth enterprise and employment strategy as well as a lack of mentoring and job placement schemes among others.

He noted that Dr. Nkrumah’s five year development plan ensured that unemployment was virtually non existent and identified intensive long term support specifically for the youth, a holistic youth enterprise and employment strategy, adequate market and economy focused educational programmes both vocational and non vocational, as some of the possible solutions to overcoming unemployment. He called for youth job placement schemes; “smoothing the way” programmes to enable the youth enter into jobs. He also prescribed a community response to issues such as alcoholism, drug use and greater emphasis on traditional family values to enable the nation to develop its pool of talents in order to meet the challenges of the modern day job market. Dr Akwetey also called for stronger and ongoing dialogue between key stakeholders, government institutions, job networks, non-governmental organisations, schools and community groups to find practical and lasting solutions to youth unemployment.

Dr. Ekwow Spio Garbrah led discussions on the topic; ‘The role of NDC Youth in the Diaspora in Delivering the Better Ghana Agenda’. He noted that Ghana was a country of capable people with a high per capita of human resources excelling in various fields in the Diaspora who can be utilised for national development.

He urged NDC youth in the Diaspora to upgrade themselves in terms of their educational, managerial, and professional development, in order to be able to function effectively when they go back home or strategically position themselves for jobs back home. He called on NDC youth in the Diaspora to endeavour to be enduring evangelists of NDC and to propagate the good virtues of the party.

Dr. Garbrah also urged the UK/Ireland youth to work vigorously with the leadership of the UK/Ireland chapter to open at least two wards every year in the UK. He further urged youth in the Diaspora to cultivate the habit of writing policy and position papers on key issues in the manifesto to be submitted to the party headquarters.

The NDC UK/Ireland youth organiser, Gameli Hoedoafia in his closing remarks noted that the key principles of probity, accountability, integrity and fairness were concepts that are relevant today as they were in 1979. He urged comrades to work together to support President Mills and his Team in the delivery of the Better Ghana Agenda.

Source: NDC UK/Ireland Youth