Media representative: How important is the Scouting for you?
President David Granger: Well, we are a country in which there is a very large population of youth – I think it’s well over 60% – and I always [said] during my campaign, that the country belongs to the youth and the Scouting Association has been in Guyana for over a century and it has always played an important role in the development of youth.
So I regard scouting as one of the means for preparing young Guyanese for full citizenship. So this is important, this Cuboree, because the Cubs will become scouts and scouts will become adults and it is in keeping with our policy for preparing the next generation to take control of our patrimony.
Now, let me go on a bit because I met President [Desi] Bouterse of Suriname a few weeks ago, just before the CARICOM Heads [of Government Meeting] at the end of June – in fact it was the 1st of July because it was Emancipation Day in Suriname – [and] I pointed out to him then and I’ll tell you now, that the territory of Guyana and Suriname combined is bigger than Germany. We are the two biggest States in the Caribbean Community and if we are to develop our countries, Suriname and Guyana; I always say that there’s just a little creek between us, so the creek shouldn’t divide us, it should unite us.
But if you are to develop this territory as part of the Caribbean Community, we have to prepare young people and my focus is on youth, and I’m very confident that the Scout movement, if it is supported by the Government as I do in this country and I’m sure in other countries, other governments do around the Caribbean Community; we will get a generation of educated and committed young people who could move the entire Community forward much faster than it’s been moving at present. We have abundant resources; Guyana and Suriname together have been described as the sort of hinterland of the Caribbean and I would like to see our young people participate more fully even if there is no Cuboree, even if there is no jamboree, Guyana and Suriname could come together and the young people could participate in joint activities every August.
Media representative: Mr. President you’re talking about preparing the youth; how important is the youth of Guyana for the future of Guyana?
President David Granger: It’s all-important. We cannot fail to prepare young people. As I said our territory is vast and we want to see engineers, we want to see businessmen; we want to see people going into mining and construction – development of our infrastructure. The needs of Guyana and Suriname are similar and we are both committed to developing the next generation to take possession of our land. So this is a very important activity; the most important activity.
Media representative: And at last sir, did you also attend Scouts… in your younger days?
President David Granger: No, I was in another organisation at school called the [Queen’s College] Cadet Corps, which is preparation for military life and I eventually went into military life, but I was not a member of the Scout organisation, but many of my friends were.
Media representative: Thank you.
Media representative: He is now.
President David Granger: I am now.
Media representative: Thank you, Mr President.
President David Granger: It’s a pleasure. Thank you.
Media representative: … [At] the CARICOM [Meeting] you [said that] we have to unite like Suriname and Guyana and other countries… How important is that?
President David Granger: Well we are about fifteen States, but we are really small by world standards and this is an era in which there are huge blocks; for example, in North America you have the United States, Canada and Mexico. In Europe, despite the British referendum, they form[ed] large blocks and we cannot survive on our own, we are too small and we are the most Balkanised region in the entire globe.
There is no other part of the globe which contains so many small States, different jurisdictions. Some are American, some are British, some are Spanish speaking, some are English speaking, some are independent and if we are to survive in this competitive global environment, we have to come together. CARICOM is the glue which will not only keep us together, but it should develop our economies.
As you know the headquarters of CARICOM is here in Georgetown and we feel that although the movement [was] established 43 years ago; it is now an opportunity for us to move more quickly, to build a Single Market and Economy and to implement the measures which were agreed; free movement and investment – and this is what we’ve been working on. And there are also now as you know, security concerns, there are other concerns and transnational crime is of such a nature that no single country can deal with it on its own; we have to come together. So CARICOM is important to the future of all of our States. We can’t survive on our own. As they say we swim together or we sink together.
Media representative: Thank you.
President David Granger: You’re welcome.