It is with consternation that I read of little Andy whose body was found in Foulis, and the 48 children found not attending school in the Sophia area.
I am submitting that these two incidents should not be viewed in isolation, but rather as inter-linked as is the case with so many other children across the length and breadth of Guyana. I recently returned from the Upper Mazaruni area where I noticed numerous children not attending school. Two years ago I noticed school-age children in the company of their parents in the Omai backdam. In some cases these children consume alcohol much to the delight of the inebriated parents.
The two mentioned incidents mark a really dark day for our nation’s children. They bring into stark reality the plight of our most valuable asset – our children. What sort of future are we moulding for them? Or is it that only the children living in the Pradovilles are assured of a future?
Whatever has become of the government’s much touted ‘No Child Left Behind’ policy? From these two incidents it seems that a lot of our children are being left behind, while the authorities could not care less.
In the case of little Andy it is preposterous that he lived the way he did, and even worse that he died the way he did. In this enlightened age Andy was denied his constitutional right to an identity. How do we distinguish him from the hundreds of other Andys? There was no way we could do that.
Did little Andy ever have the privilege of sitting in a classroom, filled with children his age? Did he ever have the opportunity of holding a pencil, playing with playdough, experiencing the thrill that a colouring book gives?
It boggles the mind when one tries to picture his childhood days. What sort of songs did he learn? Did he know any nursery rhymes or poems?
Every decent organisation ought to rise in unison for justice for young Andy. The driver, if his story is to be believed, can be forgiven, but not the authorities.
I am positive that for the duration of his 14 years, numerous government ministers and functionaries would have frequented the area. Did they care how the residents are living? Did they ask?
Did they notice Andy? If they did, did any of them take the time to inquire into his well-being? I certainly think not.
Civil organisations and the general citizenry, instead of pandering to partisan politics, need to hold governments to their promises, especially when those promises influence the way we vote.
This government should hang its head in shame at the fact that there could very well be many more little Andys out there. The time is now to give meaning to the policy of ensuring no child is left behind.
Carl A Parker Sr