By Omar Bah
The Gambia’s minister of Youth and Sports Henry Gomez has said that there will be no sustainable peace if issues affecting young people are not addressed.
“If we want to have sustainable development we should address issues affecting the young people. When they need us we should be there for them, if not am sorry, but there will be no sustainable peace,” he told visiting Mayors of Mbao and KMC.
He said through universal access to information and communication technologies, young people are often drivers of political change, “therefore, their role in building peace, preventing violent extremism and any form of radicalization cannot remain unrecognized.”
Minister Gomes further stressed that governments should stop talking about the youth and start working towards addressing their challenges, “the rhetorics are all but enough, what we need now is action. I want to assure the country’s youths that, my office will do all it can to make sure that challenges are addressed.”
“We should provide them with job opportunities and as well put them in the heart of our decision making. They need to feel that we care for them. This is why my office is focus on building the future of our young people,” he said.
He said it is time political leaders put aside their political interests and focus on the task they are elected to fulfill, “the issues of tribe, religion and political affiliation should be put to bed for now because the country needs the participation of everyone.”
Minister Gomes added that young people are highly engaged in solving conflict, countering violence and building peace, “this why it is important that they are not left frustrated.”
“It may keep one wondering to why our young people are still embarking on the backway despite the change of regime. But to me I believe, this is still happening because there is no assurance for them from government that can make them stay in the country,” he said.