Remarks by Ambassador Perry Holloway at the Launch of USAID/Youth Empowerment Services Project

Good Morning.  Thank you for joining us here today.  I’m very happy to participate in the launch of the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Youth Empowerment Services (YES) project here in Guyana.  The U.S. government is pleased to continue its many years of work in the area of citizen security here in Guyana in support of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative’s (CBSI) goal to “create a safer, more prosperous Caribbean Community.”

Guyana is a significant beneficiary under the $64 million four-year Caribbean Regional YES initiative, which builds on previous gains made in promoting youth development under the very well-known Skills and Knowledge for Youth Employment (SKYE) project.  The YES project also represents a continuation of our partnership over the years in youth development, improving the business environment, climate change adaptation, and HIV/AIDS prevention.

The success of the YES project will depend on the involvement of a broad cross-section of partners with a commitment to building a safer society, including the government, police, justice sector, private sector, civil society, community members and donors.  Each group will have a significant role to play over the next four years of this project.

YES’s legacy will be strengthened agencies, non-governmental entities, and community-based organizations that support youth and create more resilient families with young people, who are successfully reintegrated into society.

Furthermore, the project will build relationships with community members centered on mutual trust; develop partnerships that create opportunities to empower and engage youth, such as expanded education and links to employment, and support the Granger administration’s thrust to move away from a more punitive approach in the juvenile justice system toward a focus on rehabilitation and reintegration into society.  Each role is important and collectively supports and strengthens existing efforts to create safer communities, a safer Guyana, and a safer Caribbean region.

Ladies and gentlemen, your presence here today signals your interest in working together to achieve these goals.  The U.S. government, through USAID, welcomes your willingness to partner with us in this important work.  Your involvement is central to ensuring that we build upon and sustain success under the YES Project.

The future of Guyana should be very bright.  Overall, the economy has been doing well and is projected to continue on this path.  The confirmed petroleum reserves guarantee Guyana the revenue to allow it to develop industries and infrastructure, support social services, such as education and health, and create a broad-based economy with true value added, which means jobs and prosperity if done correctly.  It also means that Guyana will have the money to fund activities that will allow it to be even greener than it already is. It is my hope that our collective efforts under YES will empower Guyanese youth to contribute positively to their communities, the country, and the region long into the future.

I look forward to celebrating our joint successes, meeting with those impacted by the project, and hearing about how their lives have changed for the better— toward the good life.  Thank you again for your efforts and support, and thank you for participating in today’s event.