Contrary to Minister Manickchand’s statement, the AFC did congratulate top performers

Dear Editor,

 

I rather suspect that Minister Priya Manickchand is hardly celebratory these days in view of the questions she has to answer as asked of her by a letter-writer, Mr. Karim Khan and by our learned friend Mr. Gunn Rockcliffe.

And, apparently, it is the stress and tension arising as to whether she answers or not which have caused her to make the remarks she did at the Ministry’s National Awards Ceremony on the 31st October, 2013. The pith and substance of her comment is captured when she asserted thus: “So it is absolutely shameful and disgraceful that not one single leader of the Opposition as yet has found it appropriate to congratulate our children.”

She seeks here to chastise the AFC, among others, for not acknowledging Guyana’s 2013 CSEC performance.

Minister Manickchand should not be playing politics with these children’s extraordinary accomplishments. They are ‘wiz kids’, undoubtedly, and should be given the accolades which are being showered on them.

But she should not be using their academic feats to gain political mileage for herself and the PPP. And worse still to unjustifiably and recklessly assault the AFC, as part of the Opposition, and its leadership in not giving praise where praise is due. Her assault is obviously to divert the public’s gaze from what she has been asked to answer by Khan and Rockcliffe, an examination she surely will shamefully and disgracefully fail.

Additionally, she must know by now that  these superlative performances by our Caribbean winners had nothing specifically to do with her Ministry or her PPP Government but everything to do with their personal attributes; their outstanding parents’ support; and private lessons, and (in a couple of cases) the private teachers provided to them.

But all of this said, I simply want to inform her that she has been misinformed or ill-informed about the non-acknowledgement by the AFC of this year’s highflyers.

I have commented on several AFC television shows across the country that these students deserve our praises. I think that because I went on to say that the Minister must also tell us how many candidates wrote specific subjects and how many got what grades and how many failed, especially English and Mathematics, must have diluted the input of my earlier comment that these bright-like-bulb students be praised.

But, moreover, at the AFC Press Conference held since 14th August, 2013, after the results were made known to the public, I was present when appropriately our Youth Section leader, Mr. Trevor Williams, read out an AFC Press Release which was carried extensively in the Stabroek News of 15th August, 2013.

This is how the report was carried: “The AFC yesterday said that something needed to be done about the national pass rates, while congratulating this year’s top performing Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) students and schools.”

“The issue was raised by AFC MP Trevor Williams during a press conference where he gave kudos on the party’s  behalf to this year’s CSEC headliners Zimeena Rasheed, who  attained 18 grade ones and 2 grade twos, and Yogeeta Persaud, who gained 18 grade ones. Both girls hail from Anna Regina Multilateral Secondary in Essequibo.”

“Williams also congratulated several schools, including the Bishops’ High School, which saw improvements in their overall pass rates, but cautioned that there is work to be done to improve national results.”

Unhappily, the Minister either did not read that or deliberately forgot. Yet she continues conveniently to play political football with the issue since that time. The AFC will never do so.

 

Yours faithfully, 
Khemraj Ramjattan
Leader of the AFC

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