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Georgetown, Guyana – (December 13, 2016) First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger, today, held a simple graduation ceremony to mark the successful conclusion of a one month Instruction on Table Management and Menu Planning course for the staff at State House. The course, which was a collaborative effort between the Office of the First Lady and the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) saw 16 staff members being certified in hygiene rules, table etiquette, menu planning, hospitality, constituents of food and food groups, and the use of the multimix principles. This capacity building exercise was conducted from November 9-December 9, 2016 and is the first of several training opportunities that the First Lady plans to offer to staff members.

Mrs. Granger said that it is always her hope to ensure that staff qualify themselves in their field of work and that they are given recognised certificates. “I believe persons must constantly upgrade their skills. Nobody is going to be forced to take part but we’re going to have discussions early in the year about what the staff think they might benefit from and we’ll see how we can provide short courses with recognised certification as we go along,” Mrs. Granger said

First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger delivers remarks to the Staff of State House.

First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger offers a token of appreciation to Warrant Officer Weslyn Boodie of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), who facilitated the training.

The First Lady, who is committed to building positive working relationships with her staff, noted that with qualifications comes confidence and the ability to build successful careers. “I [always] encourage the staff to take opportunities for training… This will help them to be much more confident when they go about socially, when they do their jobs and give them the kind of skills that they need to take them through life. I also believe that the learning experience helps to build friendships… and this will add to the spirit of the staff of State House,” Mrs. Granger said.

She also thanked the GDF, for affording her the ability to make this course available. “The Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force, [Brigadier] George Lewis very kindly agreed to provide us the service of [Warrant Officer] Weslyn Boodie, who trains staff in the GDF and she very kindly came along and conducted the course,” Mrs. Granger said.

Members of staff were high in praise of the First Lady’s initiative, which they deemed as a good learning experience. Lance Corporal Melinda Jones, who is assigned to Kitchen duties, stated that though the course was a bit challenging for her she has learnt a lot and she’s very grateful for the First Lady for providing that opportunity.

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Custodian at State House, Ms. Jacqueline Dowlin being presented with her certificate from First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger, this morning.

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Mr. Kelvin Harris, who is also a driver at the Office of the First Lady, benefitted from the training programme.

Custodian at State House, Ms. Jacqueline Dowlin said, she looks at the First Lady’s initiative as a way of equipping her staff with much needed confidence. “It is a very good idea especially for me. They say you’re not too big to learn and I am not too big… One of the things that I like about her is that she motivates you; encourages you to go ahead, not because you’re here for one thing means you can’t do more, but you can go ahead and do something more. I really appreciate it [all],” Ms. Dowlin said.

Additionally, Ms. Shavone Brutus, Receptionist at Office of the First Lady, said that she jumped at the opportunity since she loves the kitchen and added that she felt motivated by the fact that the First Lady always looks out for the best interest of her staff.. “She’s [First Lady] warm and she’s very concerned about every aspect of our lives even though we have different functions… and I’m there to grasp everything that I can [and] I am thankful to her,” Ms. Brutus said.

Mr. Kelvin Harris, Driver at Office of the First Lady, said though he did the course before at Carnegie School of Home Economics he wanted to reapply some of the skills he learnt. “This is really great. When you sit and you look at the First Lady, if you intermingle with her, you would know [that] she’s always looking out for her staff; always trying to do something for her staff and with that we appreciate her a lot,” Mr. Harris said.

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