Georgetown, Guyana – (September 20, 2019): President David Granger, today, visited the community of Port Kaituma, Barima-Waini (Region One) and the Matarkai Sub-Region where he emphasised that education is the gateway to equality and empowerment.
The President also presented a cheque to assist with the completion of a school boat in the Region and commissioned an ambulance, which was donated to the Government of Guyana by the International Import and Supplies Limited, to the people of Port Kaituma and neighbouring communities.
The President noted that the Government will launch the Decade of Development: 2020-2029, where education will be one of the priority areas of focus.
“Education is the gateway to equality and this will be one of our big priorities during this Decade of Development. When you are educated, it doesn’t matter if you are from the hinterland or coastland, whether tall or short, Warrau or Carib, what matters is that you are a citizen who has the knowledge and skills and talent to transform your lives and the lives of your families and the country,” the President said.
The Head of State asserted that education is the most important tool an individual can acquire as it puts him/her on the path to success.
“All the resources [gold, diamond, bauxite] you see…we need educated people to develop these resources. We want you to go to school to become engineers, geologists and biologists, accountants and lawyers. Don’t believe these professions belong to people in Georgetown or the coastland alone. People from villages in Baramita, Sebai, Whitewater …all residents of Barima-Waini must look forward to becoming educated and trained citizens of this country,” President Granger said.
He also reminded that education is important not only for equality but for empowerment. “We got into Government in 2015 and before one year passed, we had Local Government Elections (LGE) in this country,” he said, adding that the LGEs were held twice in four years.
“Under my Government, we will not replace a democratically elected neighbourhood Democratic Council by an interim management committee,” the President said.
The Head of State also asserted that while equality and empowerment are among the plans for the Decade, education, at all levels, is important.
“We are ensuring that you have better access to education and that is why you have a school boat, a bus, Public Education Transportation Service…because every child must get access to primary and secondary schools. I already, indicated, that when we go back into office you will get free university education as long as you are qualified. The Constitution gives you that entitlement, nobody can take it away from you and I am giving it back to you…Free nursery, free primary, free secondary and free tertiary and university education. This is the way to ensure that Guyana becomes a fully developed nation,” the President said.
The Head of State reiterated the importance of a sound education for Guyana’s development.
“I want you to get a thorough education. I want you to understand it is an entitlement. We want you to get jobs but without education you can’t get any jobs. You have to be able to become an entrepreneur…Going to school is important and I urge you don’t drop out- ‘Every Child in School’ is my Government’s motto,” the President added.
President Granger then called on the residents to support children who encounter difficult circumstances. “If a child doesn’t have breakfast, give the child breakfast. If the child doesn’t have books, buy books so that the child can grow up and earn his or her living independently,” he said.
The President also cautioned residents to protect themselves from communicable and non-communicable diseases. He said a public health plan will be advanced to ensure that citizens are safer, even as he commended Minister of Public Health, Ms. Volda Lawrence for the work she has done within the sector and particularly in Region One.
The Head of State reminded that every citizen of the Matarkai Sub-Region has a role to play in ensuring the environment is clean and that the Government looks forward to improving infrastructural development to ensure that citizens benefit from better public services.
“We have a policy for regional development. The four largest regions are now governed by towns,” he said, explaining that the Government will acquire a modern ferry to assist in the transport of persons and goods to the Barima-Waini Region.
President Granger, further said, the airstrip, schools, and roads will be maintained and improved. Currently, a new school is being built by persons within the Region to ensure that children have access to schools and the President donated a cheque to ensure the completion of a boat to transport children to school.
He assured the residents of Port Kaituma and its environs that with oil production slated to begin next year, he wants to ensure that citizens have access to good education, health, infrastructure, social services.
“So, the money that will propel the development of this region will come largely from our petroleum revenues. Those revenues don’t belong to one person, they belong to all of you. We have already started to put measures in place to ensure there is a Natural Resources Fund…we are not going to spend … that money. That money will be used prudently to ensure that every citizen of the Barima-Waini and every citizen of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana would benefit from that oil revenue,” he said.
President Granger also announced that Government plans to establish a radio station in Port Kaituma through the Regional Broadcasting Service. “The Regions are so large that we need communications facilities to broadcast to schools, to be able to broadcast health warnings, education and entertainment. We will be bringing a radio under the regional broadcasting service to Port Kaituma,” he said.
The President was accompanied by Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo; Vice President and Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Mr. Sydney Allicock; Minister of State, Mrs. Dawn Hastings-Williams; Minister of Public Health, Ms. Volda Lawrence; Minister of Social Protection, Ms. Amna Ally; Minister of Citizenship, Mr. Winston Felix; Ministers within the Ministries of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs and Communities, Ms. Valerie Garrido-Lowe and Ms. Annette Ferguson respectively.