President David Granger announced on Saturday that his Government will be launching the Guyana Youth Corps on January 1, 2018.
A statement from the Ministry of the Presidency said that the body will be aimed at providing employment and other opportunities for youths, particularly those, who have dropped out of school. The President made this announcement while addressing residents of Friendship Village in the Pomeroon River where he and Minister of Social Protection, Amna Ally launched a kite distribution exercise. The President also shared out books and other gifts to the children of the Makaseema-Kabakaburi community in the Upper Pomeroon and Friendship Village in the Lower Pomeroon (Region Two).
Granger urged parents, teachers, community leaders and civil society bodies to assist the Government to identify youths, who are in need of jobs, particularly those who may not have completed school, so that they can be enlisted in the Youth Corps. “I will do everything possible to help you to get jobs but you must also want to help yourselves,” he said, according to the release.
Noting that the role of citizens in economic development will be complemented by Govern-ment, Granger spoke of the vast agricultural potential of the Pomeroon-Supenaam Region. “The Pomeroon-Supenaam is one of the most productive agricultural zones in the entire country and perhaps the entire Eastern Caribbean… You produce over 44 million coconuts every year, you produce nearly half of the rice that Guyana produces and a quarter of the fish that we produce. So there is no reason for anyone in the Pomeroon-Supenaam to go hungry or go without a job. What we have to do is convert your agricultural wealth into money that you can put in your pockets and into jobs that your young people need,” the President said.
The release said that residents of communities along the Pomeroon River depend heavily on gasoline-generated electricity and the President urged them to look at more sustainable ways to generate energy such as solar energy. He also committed to giving the Makaseema-Kabakaburi community, a solar panel to provide power for their community centre or boat landing.
The President spoke of the importance of education in eradicating inequality in Guyana, particularly in rural, hinterland and riverine communities. “Education is important because it is the first step towards equality. This means that when a child comes out of the Pomeroon he or she must have the best possible opportunities to get a secondary education so they can go to the University of Guyana… Education will open that door and it is our duty as a Government, to make sure that children in every part of the country get equal opportunity and equal access to education and that is part of my mission,” Granger said.
Critics have said that the President’s emphasis on education as in his address on Saturday is at odds with the government’s decision to impose VAT on private tuition.
He told residents of the Pomeroon that the plight they were facing in getting their children to school on the coast was the driving force behind the Government’s Boats, Buses, Bicycles plus Breakfast and Books (Five Bs) programme, which to date, has seen nine boats, 13 buses and hundreds of bicycles handed over to children all across the country.