Academic, Historian, Ideologue/Military Officer. Now Leader of the People’s National Congress and Leader of the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) – and Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition. Now all the foregoing can be properly attributed to the retired GDF Brigadier who is David Granger.
Astute at varied pursuits he is still, to me, an unpractised politician. But the one-time Defence Advisor to Presidents is learning quickly after a slow start. Seemingly dignified and intellectual, Granger seems to be attracting the attention, perhaps confidence, of the “local” international community (representatives). He and his political colleagues have now to manoeuvre adroitly to keep up with the tactics – political, constitutional, governmental and legal -being used by the government side. That’s if Comrade Leader is to satisfy his sometime seething supporters and constituency.
Now all the above is context for me to outline one of Mr Granger’s vital concerns which he repeated this past Sunday evening at a Camptown Anniversary event. No – not Amaila; not Money Laundering Legislation; not the Procurement Commission; not Hinterland Trafficking In Persons. Not even the government’s parliamentary manoeuvrings. Instead, I refer to Granger’s warning about Education “Apartheid” and the state of Guyanese youth.
Incidentally, the last PNC/APNU Campaign Manifesto outlined, somewhat impressively, the APNU proposed programmes for the rescue of the nation’s youth – two thirds of the population. One such was to be a youth empowerment scheme (yes) , to finance, mentor and monitor youth-oriented enterprises, in collaboration with NGO’s and the Private Sector.
Poor APNU. That was just a campaign proposal. And they also couldn’t form the government. (But could not the Party/Alliance still implement?)
Must I believe Mr Granger?
I shall not repeat details from the obviously-concerned Opposition Leader, with respect to Guyana’s education challenges and the status and trauma of the nation’s Youth.
Before and after the recent high-profile examination results, the top UG graduate from an academically-gifted family has been describing the vast, inequitable gap between two groups of school-going Guyanese: the financially-comfortable haves, and the majority, deprived have-nots. One may observe that this occurs in most societies – “you get the education, medical care, food and justice you can afford” – but in Guyana, with less than a million souls, the cost of “free education” is so obvious, painful and debilitating to the majority.
Despite my seeing our youths at church, at sport, at UG, at Mega-concerts, I know their challenges. But still, unlike Mr Granger, I will recognize government’s efforts at a Youth Policy and programmes to empower – from the Hinterland to Georgetown. I could agree with a criticism which points out that the multiple millions being used, many times being wasted on badly-done roads, bridges, Chinese ferries, stellings, could have provided a much more cohesive national programme for our young Guyana.
Under-educated and in jails, we have to agree with Granger’s warnings – his lament – grief, mourning and regrets. Save the Youth!
On Sunday afternoon, the APNU Leader described an incident at a secondary school executed by the male and female students.
(I have been hearing about students taking alcohol to schools in soft-drink containers, but…) Even I, relatively hardened and thick-skinned, cannot bring myself to repeat here, Mr Granger’s revelations, later confirmed by others.
What’s happening in our schools Minister Priya? I understand that most Guyanese schools are now headed by females with the staff being also female in the majority. Does that have anything to do with it? Are the parents too young – or are no good examples? Assist me here please.
Pride in citizenship? Its value…
I have to admit that I’m being a bit lazy and merely exploratory with this interesting item. The issue caught my fancy because of two “events”. (Again, I suggest that some young enterprising journalist explore the subject.)
GECOM’s Fifth Cycle of Continuous Registration informs me that “a citizen from a Commonwealth country living in Guyana for one year or more, is eligible for registration during this exercise”.
Registered persons over fourteen by year-end can get National Identification Cards (?) and those past eighteen can vote at election time. Young journalists, please verify if these “Commonwealth citizens” from Botswana, Bangladesh, Cyprus, The Bahamas and India, etc. ect. etc; can hold our I.D. cards and actually vote! When you are registered you get on the Official List of Electors.
I’ll shorten my numerous, sometimes bewildering – views on citizenship. But read this: a matured, responsible Guyanese lady who acquired Trinidad citizenship years ago, returned to Georgetown a few weeks ago. She explained to me that she was here primarily to reclaim her Guyanese citizenship – officially and legally.
Poor me. I thought you never lose that if you were born here. It’s your birthright! I then “read up” on citizenship in our Constitution (Chap 4 – Articles 41 to 47) I tried to challenge the “Citizenship of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago Act (Chap. 1: 50)” Slight confusion assailed my little non-legal mind as I explored, in both documents, the issues of acquisition, denunciation and restoration of citizenship in both Guyana and Trinidad.
Naturalisation, Registration, Birth, Descent are all pathways to citizenship which some citizens may actually chose to give up, to renounce. A great area to explore, but why do I feel that Guyana is soft on its citizenship. Probably my ignorance?
Do consider …
*1) If our very earliest Amerindian foreparents trekked from Mongolia, across the waters to the Americas and the Caribbean, arriving eventually in Guyana, were they indigenous to Guyana? (I know, for sure, that Amerindians were the first “Guyanese”) . Discuss …
*2) When President Ramotar and former President Jagdeo exchange visits what do they discuss?
*3) I notice newspaper reports of murders – almost daily now (?) – go out of their way to advise the police investigators about crime scenes, forensics, possible leads etc. etc. Do they read? Then there comes the prosecution in court.
Til next week!