Georgetown, Guyana – (February 28, 2016) Two 50-seater buses were, yesterday, commissioned by President David Granger in East Berbice-Corentyne (Region Six) under the ‘Boats, Buses and Bicycles’ or ‘Three B’s’ Programme, which is aimed at ensuring that every child has the means to get to school.
The first bus, which was donated by Mr. Mohamed Nazrudeen was commissioned at the Rose Hall Primary School and will serve the areas between Lancaster and No.2 Village, Lower Corentyne, while the second bus, which was donated by the Ramada Princess Hotel, was commissioned in Sister’s Village will serve the East Bank of Berbice. This brings to three, the total number of buses handed over to the Region this week.
President Granger, who was accompanied by Minister of Social Cohesion, Ms. Amna Ally and joined by Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon at Sister’s Village, said that the development of the country depends on developing an educated nation and this can be achieved if an investment is made in the education of the nation’s youth now. To this end, the Head of State called on all Guyanese to take the responsibility for ensuring that every child is able to attend school and complete their education.
President David Granger assists little Ms. Fieona Mohamed, who also recited the poem, “The three Bs”, as she cut the ribbon to commission the bus at Rose Hall, as Minister of Social Cohesion, Ms. Amna Ally looks on.
“We want to ensure that in every village, every community, every municipality that our children can get to school. I want every parent here today, every would be Councillor, every villager, every adult, to leave here with one promise on their lips; that [they] will do every possible to make sure children get to school. If [you] can afford it and [you] know that there is a child in my village, a child in my street, who is not going to school because he has no breakfast or transport, if you see children ‘liming about’, ask them why they are not at school and try to help them to get to school and you will see the difference in this country,” the President said.
President Granger noted that with the number of school dropouts recorded every year, it is imperative that systems are put in place to minimise and as far as possible, eradicate this occurrence, since valuable human resources for nation building are being lost.
He noted that the resource rich East Berbice-Corentyne has the potential to lead Guyana towards economic recovery.
“This is a powerful region. East Berbice-Corentyne is bigger than Belgium, Belize, Burundi… You are the sugar bowl of the country. You are the rice pot of the country. You are the fish market of the country and we look to East Berbice-Corentyne to lead the economic recovery of our whole country but you can only play that leadership role if you have an educated population. You can only play that leadership role if we have talented and skilled individuals in this region and that is why I am here today. Our government is concerned about human development, about you and the children, about the talent because without the skill, without the talent, without the intellectual capability, we cannot develop this region and this country,” the President told residents and students who had gathered at the Rose Hall Primary School.
The Head of State said that with education young people can become job creators, rather than relying on wage employment by using their skills and talent to development enterprises.
President David Granger greeting Mr. Eray Kanmaz, General Manager of the Ramada Princess Georgetown Hotel as Mr. Ugur Turetgen, Hotel Manager and Finance Manager, Mr. Cihat Isik look on. The “David G No. 4” was donated by the Ramada Princess Georgetown Hotel
“This region can generate employment for people…you can employ yourself as business persons, exporting coconut water, fish, fruits, guava jam, guava cheese, guava jelly, vegetables… If you have the education, you don’t need to go look for work. You can provide your own employment. If you do not have education, you have to work for people but if you have some your education, you can set up enterprises, at the same time, enriching yourself, your region and your country. I want to see a strong region. So this bus will take you far… to the land of prosperity, private enterprises, open markets where you can sell your produce,” President Granger said.
In addition to strong enterprises, the President said that his vision for Guyana is for communities to be more empowered to manage their own affairs. He noted that the upcoming Local Government Elections (LGEs) will allow community members to chart their own course.
“Many of you have never voted but we are holding these elections because it is about empowerment. You will be able to make decisions about how New Amsterdam is governed, how Rose Hall is governed, how all the NDCs are governed. Everything that happens outside your door is about local government. You need strong NDCs, strong municipalities. That is why this government has struggled for local government elections. We will empower you and if they don’t perform move them and put people who are concerned about your welfare,” he said.
Meanwhile, Minister Ally, under whose Ministry, the ‘Three Bs Programme is being organised, said that the commissioning of the buses serves to solidify the government’s commitment to providing a good life for all, through the elimination of barriers of equality.
“When I think that another bus will get another 50 children to school, I am encouraged to work. This administration will continue to set goals and achieve them. We will see that peoples’ needs are met. Guyanese are once again getting equal opportunities and we are seeing that the barriers and hindrances to nation building crumble. The children are now going to be able to access education and we are going to ensure that it is of a high quality,” Minister Ally said.
The “David G No. 4” at Sister’s Village.
Regional Executive Officer, Dr. Veerasammy Ramayya, praised the initiative, pointing out that this is the first time that such a programme has been undertaken in the country.
“The President has shown great interest, not only in this Ancient County, but throughout Guyana. We would always welcome the President in Berbice because of this initiative. It is giving every child the opportunity to be better and equal. The Three B’s will continue to flourish to enhance the lives of poor people and poor children. Only nine months in the Government and you can see the progress and if the business community continue to reach out to us, we will see the difference. This region is prepared to work with you and the government to make your dreams a reality,” the Regional official said.
Mr. Mohamed Nazrudeen Junior, whose father donated the bus, which was commissioned at the Rose Hall Primary School, said that the family became inspired to help when they too realised that there are many children who cannot afford transportation to and from school. He indicated that his family will continue to support the administration in such efforts, which are aimed at developing the lives of Guyanese.
In the meantime, Mr. Eray Kanmaz, General Manager of Ramada Princess Hotel, Providence, who made the third bus donation at Sisters Village possible, said that the company has been motivated by the Guyanese people and as such, will continue to fulfil its corporate social responsibilities.
“We have always partnered with the Ministry of Education and it is an honour for me to represent Ramada Princess Hotel here at this event. We assure you that our social projects will continue as we continue to grow,” he said.
Ms. Nirmala Hussain, a teacher from the Region, expressed gratitude on behalf of parents and students alike, noting that the buses provided, will go a long way in assisting in the delivery of education.
“The poor children are happy because education is for everyone and today we have a bus that will take children to school. They are the leaders of tomorrow… Not because we have it means we are going to destroy it. We need to value what we have and what has been given to us. Let us value and treasure it.”
So far, nine buses, six boats and over three hundred bicycles have been received under the programme.
Minister of Social Cohesion, Ms. Amna Ally, delivering an address to the crowd gathered at the commissioning ceremony of the school bus at Sister’s Village.