Rotary Serving Humanity-Youth Perspective
May 17, 2017
Senator Michael Freeland
Rotary Serving Humanity-Youth Perspective

Serving Humanity: Youth Perspective

President and other executive members, Rotarians all

I want to thank you for the invitation in addressing you this afternoon in a fitting and appropriate theme Rotarians serving humanity. As some should know, if not all, these halls are not unfamiliar to me as I am a member of Rotary Antigua Sundown. I just took a long leave of absence and I hope that they will see it fit to reinstate me or I will have to seek an adoption.       

What drew me to rotary was my first experience as an observer and heard what I later found out was the four-way test. This test is applicable in anything we do in life. We must always be mindful of the Truth, being fair to all concerned, building goodwill and better friendships, beneficial to all concerned.

I am not here to share what you already know, but rather to join you in advocating the will to serve and the will to serve humanity. As a young Senator, there is no choice but to serve. That is what you are appointed for – serve the government and its policies, and serve the people of Antigua and Barbuda.

Why do we always impart the youths are the future, when we are fearful of the same youths? Why is it that when we look at our goals, whether political, social or religious we make it youth specific? These are the same youths that we think will replace us if we do not keep them at arms length. The same youths that we once were, and wondered why am I always being fought down, and today some of us are filling the role of our then seniors not giving youths a chance.

That cannot be said of this government administration, as it is evident that the make-up of youths within the upper house is almost 50% of the house. That signals a youth agenda and shows action rather than talks. In my role, I must be mindful that energy and hard work must be shown at all times, to encourage the youths of today that they can achieve whatever their minds can conceive.

Further, it is my undertaking to assist many youths in finding suitable employment; hence, the work programme governed by this administration is a great stepping-stone for the use of apprentices. We are looking to employ some 60 youths in the roll out of the CDB Road project, utilizing their zeal in the cement and lab facilities newly built and equipped northeast of the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium. It also a charge of mine to have these youths, train in the carpentry and mason block, as well as the mechanic field. From here on, it is to try to reach out to them further about always training and re-tooling so that they can become their own bosses.

We often hear of the saying, “Young people do not like work, or they cannot work together. Black people do not like partnerships.” However, I often explain to the youths, that until we come together and pool our limited resources; finance, intellectual, professional, and most times your networks, we will always have that crab in a barrel mentality. It is this reason why I often share the story of Myst Carnival, 4 young men, black young men who came together in 2008 to build a carnival mas band. We utilize our scarce financial beings, our creative minds, our project management and network ability to build one of the most powerful brands in Antigua & Barbuda and this year we are celebrating 10 years of Mas. It was hard work and a commitment to raise the level of service and ensure that quality was always at the forefront. For this reason, we tell our patrons, you are never paying for a costume; you are paying for an experience. That experience takes place from the launch in March until we say farewell in august, building a family of young people who can revel and enjoy themselves in a fun, safe environment.                                          

I am sure I could speak for hours in my quest to show that there are youths today doing as much as they can with the will and support. However, I am mindful that we are all professionals with tight schedules and this is lunch.

Thanks very much to Rotary Club of Antigua for this invitation once again, and feel free to call on me even if it is a question and answer segment on Roads.