As I casually browsed through the publication, I was forced to blink 10 times and gently rub my eyes an additional 7, when Mr. Herbert categorized H.O.P.E Nevis, a vibrant youth organization of which I am a proud and privileged member, as “a creature of the Daniel coterie”.
I really do not know much about Mr. Livingston Herbert but for the fact that he was a former Minister of Government with responsibility for Education. Therefore, I would be very much out of my league if I were to venture to judge him as an individual, unlike he who sought to make unchecked assumptions and cast aspersions on our organization. However, I would do no justice to my conscience if I simply swept this comment under the rug and did not express how much it disturbed and disappointed me!
The members of H.O.P.E Nevis have always sung one song: – that the organization must not be used to further the political intentions or initiatives of any individual or group in society. We welcome all youth between the ages of 16-35 – FULL STOP. We support all the nations’ youth in that which is wholesome – FULL STOP. We have never asked of anyone, their family, village or party affiliation, if they so desire to join the organization – FULL STOP.
When H.O.P.E launched its anti-crime campaign in all the primary schools on Nevis and held Unity rallies throughout the various parishes, this was not done for the benefit of “the Daniel coterie”. It was done with the intention of helping to steer our youth away from crime and anti-social behaviour.
When H.O.P.E established its “Deserving Child Award Fund” to provide students in the secondary schools who fall in the lower socio-economic bracket with hot, nutritious lunches on a daily basis, it was done to ease the financial burden of some Nevisian families. Not to please “the Daniel coterie”.
When the members of H.O.P.E Nevis, many of whom are still students, use their own personal funds to provide monetary prizes for the primary school graduands at their annual graduation exercises, this is not done at the behest of “the Daniel coterie”. It is done because we wish to reward our youth for their academic excellence and give them incentive to raise their level of performance.
So for Mr. Herbert to describe H.O.P.E as “a creature of the Daniel coterie”, I believe is an insult to the work that we do, the sincerity of our efforts and moreover, where and how such efforts took root. If H.O.P.E is anything at all, it is a social engine trying to address the societal ills which confront our society; it is a youth movement that allows young people of various persuasions and beliefs to take part in the development of their country and shape the lives of other young people. What H.O.P.E Nevis is NOT, Mr. Herbert, is some “creature” of a family, clan or politician! Kindly get your facts straight!
For your personal edification, however, H.O.P.E Nevis was the brainchild of Mr. Rohan Isles of Barnes Ghaut Village. He with the assistance of other passionate youth advocates such as Ms. Vincia Herbert, Mr. Ron Daniel, Mr. Frank Jeffers Ms. Shirna Browne, Mr. Joel Pogson, Ms. Asuree-Dee Liburd and Mr. Troy Jeffers set the stage for this signature youth movement.
It is after the herculean efforts of the aforementioned individuals to lay the ground work for the development of H.O.P.E Nevis, that myself, Ms. Nailah Tyrell, Mr. Kyle Weekes, Ms. Nicole Elliot and other like-minded social entrepreneurs came on board to help to build this organisation . . . not in the interest of politics, not in the interest of the Daniel family or the “Daniel coterie” as Mr. Herbert so put it but rather, we joined in the interest of empowering the young people of Nevis.
If H.O.P.E can at all be deemed “a creature” of anyone or anything, it is “a creature” of the legitimate aspirations of Nevisian youth to be heard and “a creature” of a group of dynamic young people from diverse backgrounds and of different beliefs who are merely trying all in their power to Help Our People Excel!
I think it is quite clear just exactly what Mr. Herbert was trying to insinuate when he passed his remark. The use of the terms “creature” and “the Daniel coterie” say it all! Such language seeks to cast H.O.P.E in a very insidious light and I roundly take offense to it. I honestly believe that it is very unfortunate and unbecoming, that someone who once served as a Minister of Education in this country and should, as a consequence, recognize the value of a group such as H.O.P.E, particularly in light of the various challenges which we face with our youth today, would seek to negatively stereotype and sully the good name of our organization, for the sake of petty partisan politics!
Mark you, I would be untruthful and misleading the general public if I denied that H.O.P.E has recognized supporters of BOTH political parties in our organization. To be sure, we have members who are staunch supporters of the NRP and the CCM and then of course, there are those members who really have no care in this world for politics. The difference, however, between H.O.P.E and some other factions in society and might I add, the beauty of this organization, is that when it comes to doing the work of the people of Nevis, we appreciate and understand that we must leave our politics at home and place not only Country Above Self but also, Country Above Party!
I therefore humbly advise Mr. Herbert, that before he takes to the press to comment on matters that he clearly has no factual knowledge of, he should do greater research and visit our website, www.hopenevis.com, or perhaps drop in on one of our bi-weekly meetings held on Mondays at 5:00 p.m. upstairs the Credit Union Building, if he so desires to discover the true genesis of our organization.
I am acutely aware that we are now in the so called “silly season”, but I genuinely believe that there is no need for such silly comments and behaviour. Politicians and their activists must make a concerted effort to be less reckless and more responsible!