The members of “Youth For Change”, a group of young adults, said that they are prepared to take protest action, if the current administration does not agree to meet with them to discuss a litany of concerns, to include perceived corruption in government, the horrendous conditions of the roads in the country and the extremely high cost of living.
Inspired by Pearman Jeffery, the group of 30 to 35-year-olds launched the petition on change.org in September, after noticing that successive governments have failed to address some of the aforementioned prolonged issues in Antigua and Barbuda.
Jeffrey said they have used the petition as an initial means to engage other young people and to attract the government’s attention.
“We decided to go this route first to see how many people would be behind such a move and if the officials don’t seem to take us seriously then we will go the route of public protest,” he explained.
To date, the petition has amassed more than 200 signatures as it demands resolution to nepotism in government offices, stagnant wages and salaries, constant and protracted interruption in water supply, frequent electricity outages, the state of Social Security, aspects of the Global Port Agreement, the destruction of the ecosystem through the YIDA project, as well as lack of material and medicine at the Mount St John’s Medical Centre.
The group members, who have dubbed themselves non-partisan, have documented their displeasure with these and many more anomalies in governance and are refusing to remain silent any longer.
“The young people have this sort of positive mentality or attitude towards things going on in the country, so we thought that, maybe, if we have a non-partisan group of young people, we could actually build the momentum of our young people to participate in what’s going on in the political system of Antigua and Barbuda,” Jeffrey shared with OBSERVER media.
He added that while there may be other groups protesting for some of the same issues, it is likely that a non-partisan group will have a greater impact.
“The Faithful Nationals are doing their part and the young people can do their part separately if they want,” he said, when asked whether action by these other groups were not realising the intended results because of their political affiliation.
The petition, which is being pushed as an olive branch to the group’s concerns, ended by noting, “The ball is in your [the government’s] court. We were the ones who put you in the
positions you now occupy, and we will take further
steps if our concerns are ignored.”