(21st November 2015) H.E Brigadier David Granger: I know the sun is hot and you have been standing here a long time; so I will try to be brief with my remarks. Chief Scout, Mr. Ramsey Ali; Chief Commissioner, Ms. Zaida Joaquin; Executive Operations Officer of the Caribbean, Mr. Ron Richardson; District Commissioners, group leaders, fellow Scouts; I can call you fellow scouts now, right? Members of the media, ladies and gentlemen, I am happy to have been invited to be vested with the title of patron today.
It is an honour to be patron of this great movement and to be present at the Scout Association’s Annual Camporee. I thank the Association for its invitation to me, to be here today. I thank the Association for the honour of asking me to be patron.
I thank the Association for vesting me with this national scarf and the title of Patron. I take this honour seriously; I shall wear this scarf with pride. I pledge to be a good Scout and to be a good patron of this Association. I accept the honour with humility, thank you.
I am cognisant of the good work that the Scout Association of Guyana has done throughout the history of over a hundred years. I am conscious also of the important role that scouting plays in helping young people. I am committed to continuing the work of this great movement and to continuing the office of previous patrons of the Association.
I became President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana in May and I paid my first visit to this Association headquarters here in Georgetown in June; so this is my second visit here since I became President, and there will be more visits; you will be seeing more of me. When I came in June, I emphasised that the scouting experience occurred at a time that was the most difficult period of growing up; that is, the adolescent period.
Young people, during their adolescence, undergo physical and psychological changes. If I come back ten years from now some of you wouldn’t be so small, some of you would be tall. You have to make changes to adjust to the changing world around you, to people, to places, to situations.
Your young minds search for answers to the question of how you will fit into the world; if you don’t make the correct choices your lives could be affected forever. Young people, like you, at this time of your lives need advice and guidance. You need to be equipped with the skills to help you to make the correct choices, the correct decisions.
You need to learn the right values, so that you could make those right choices and this is the best place to learn those values; to learn standards. Values that you learn here will take you through your lives. Young people like you need organisations and institutions to support you, throughout your adolescence.
You must be able to rely on organisations to guide you through life’s challenges. You cannot do that on your own; the Scout Association of Guyana is the finest organisation, an organisation that is committed to helping you to develop the right attitudes, the right values and the right skills.
My Government is willing to help you, if you are willing to help yourselves. The Scout Association has a proven track-record of successful mentorship of young people. The Scout Association is no flash-in-the-pan; it’s no fly-by-night organisation, it has been in Guyana for over a hundred and six years. It was formed a mere two years after scouting was founded in England; its birth place.
Guyana is the first country in the English-speaking Caribbean to establish a Scout movement. It was the second country in the entire continent of South America and it is the ninth in the entire world. You should be proud of that history, proud of that record.
Today, I am proud to be part of this rich tradition of service. I would like to see scouting developed. I would like to see scouting grow. Each year, the government gives a subvention of $120,000 to support the work of the Scout Association of Guyana. My government will be multiplying that figure by ten.
I shall be giving you $1.2 million dollars per year. This is not a Christmas present; this is going on and on, year after year. Why do I do this? Because I believe that giving the Scout Association of Guyana money is an investment. We must invest in human development. We must invest in youth. We must invest in the next generation. We must invest in the future. This is an investment and I am proud to be here to announce this investment to you.
I shall be a good patron to you. I wish this Camporee every success; I wish the Scout Association of Guyana every success.
May God bless you!
I thank you.