Faber Committed To Youth Elections

The results for the National Youth Council elections are in. But before we get into the results, we spoke to Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture Patrick Faber today about the elections and he expressed his deep connection with this idea of youth participation.

Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education
"From what I've been hearing apparently we had a very good process and I wish to point out that this entire process in fact was conceived, delivered by the young people. I want to salute the Department of Youth Services because what they've done is phenomenal and it is because if proper planning. So some years ago we decided we are going to put together the policy, we are going to put together the registration process where groups can register and be a part of the activities and we are going to empower the young people so that they themselves can take the lead in terms of youth work in this country and I will tell you, I have been absolutely bubbling over with pleasure to see how the young people themselves have taken this opportunity given to them by the government and how they've been able to run with it. It is phenomenal. I know that it is not going to be a perfect road, that there are going to be hiccups. In fact you see that we have a tie here in the Belize District for the presidency. I am told that there will be a bi-election in that regard and there was a tie at one of the other posts out district as well. But this is solely their initiatives. They are being guided by the department and of course by those who are trained in youth work from the region. We are grateful for that assistance, but I am ecstatic that the young people themselves are leading that charge."

Although the central vision for this National Youth Council is to empower young people - isn't this process tainted by political meddling on the part of the aspirants themselves? Faber spoke on the political background of two of the Belize district aspirants but told us that in the end it's all about who can promote and advance youth work and involvement.

Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education
"I was asked in fact for my advice when it was they were putting together how the elections would be carried and in fact there were one point they were saying that they were suggesting that they would not have political youth movements be a part of the elections. Because of course they feared political interference and my advice to them which they heeded was not exclude anybody. If you are working with youth in this country whether you be red, whether you be blue, whether you be Christian or non-Christian - whatever the case is. If you are advocating positive values and you are working with the young people, include them. So it is kind of funny that we've landed in this situation. In fact I believe both of these candidates are aligned to a political party; Micah with the PUPs youth arm BYM and Stafin with the UDPs Youth Popular front and I will tell you now that I have no difficulty. In fact I've gone on the record saying about Micah when he in fact contested me that I believe he has a positive attributes. Stafin of course is second to nobody. I will tell you that and I believe that either one of them and better yet, if both of them can find a way to work together, regardless of whoever holds the official position it will be a greater day for us here in Belize."

Youth Leaders Chosen

But, who won?

In the Corozal District Damari Tesucum has been elected for President, while Dominique Vellos has won the seat for Vice President. Immer Campos was chosen for Secretary, and Digna Ramirez has been chosen for Public Relations Officer. The Treasurer's seat has ended in a tie between Phillip Wade Jr. and Herman Sanchez.

In the Orange Walk District Joshua Carrillo has been chosen as President, and he will be joined Joslin Alvarez who was endorsed as the Vice President, since there was no one else who ran against her. Katy Magana was elected as Secretary, along with Delia Toledano, who was the only person who ran for Treasurer. Makeda Anderson has been chosen as the Corozal Public Relations Officer.

In the Cayo District, Ricky Cunil was chosen as President, and he had to outdo 6 other presidential candidates. Raven Galvez had to defeat 7 other opponents for the Vice President's seat, while Josselyn Balona was elected as the General Secretary. Chantae Guy was chosen as the Treasurer, and Shantel Jacobs became the 5 member of the Cayo Chapter to be elected as Public Relations Officer.

In the Stann Creek District, Jamall Swaso was chosen for President, and he's joined by Ruth Virula who was elected as Vice President. Kylesha Ciego was elected as Secretary, while Antonette Nunez has become the the Treasurer. Dwanye DonNeal was elected as PR Officer.

In the Toledo District, Adriana Avilez was chosen as the President, and she will be joined by Fern Foster who is now the Vice President. The Toledo youth groups chose Leshaun Sanchez for Secretary Zalika Garbutt for Treasurer, and Albert Coleman Jr for Public Relations Officer.

And in the Belize District, which we've been following closely, there has been a tie between Micah Goodin and Stafin Duncan for the position of President.

Dominque Noralez has been chosen for Vice President, and Shayanne Dena has been elected as Secretary. She will be joined by Sharissa Perez as Treaturer, and Renata Samuels as Public Relations.

So, what's going to happen to break the tie between Stafin Duncan and Micah Goodin in Belize, and Phillip Wade Jr. and Herman Sanchez in Corozal? Well, the Department of Youth Services will contact these 4 candidates and choose an appropriate date for a bi-election where the same delegates will be able to choose who they want for these two posts. That should happen later this week, or by early next week.

Faber Says Youth Election Does Need Tweaking

So now that the elections are (almost) over what will be done to improve the process the next time around? We asked Faber about the criticism that only a very small percentage of the youth population actually voted in this year's election - as few as 94 persons in the Belize district. Well Faber told us that is something they will have to address.

Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education
"What the department did was asked for the registration of youth groups and that was something that was new. So I was very pleased at the youth awards to see how many groups exist now as compared to year or two years ago. So it's a growth process and yes while in this registration process we might still not have captured all groups that are having young membership. Next year we hope that that number will grow. As we go on that it can truly be a representation of all the young people in this country."

Faber also said that the Youth Department did send out invitations to all young people in various youth groups but only those who responded were able to vote.

Channel 7