President David Granger: Please be seated. Thank you for that warm but very long introduction. Master of Ceremonies and Chairperson, Mr. Ron Robinson; Mr. Ramsey Ali, President of the Scouts Association of Guyana; Mr. Andrew Ramcharitar, Chief Commissioner; Ms. Zaida Joaquin, Camp Chief; and other executive members of the Scouts Association of Guyana; Most Reverend Bishop Francis Alleyne [OSB]; Mr. Humphrey Sherman, Head of the Suriname contingent; Mr. Roger Barclay, Head of the Trinidad and Tobago contingent; Mr. France De La Cruz, Head of the Curacao contingent; participants; other special invitees; fellow Scouts; Cub Scouts; members of the media; ladies and gentlemen:
Today, I welcome you all on behalf of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana. You have come here from the four corners of the Caribbean. We are happy to have so many of you here on the continent of South America. We look forward to your having an enjoyable experience and memorable meetings with fellow Cub Scouts during this Cuboree.
This year, Guyana celebrates its Fiftieth Anniversary of Independence just as you celebrate your centenary. This year we are very happy to be host to this 14th Caribbean Cuboree. It is a special year for us and it is a special year for you and your presence here graces our Golden Jubilee year.
Guyana you know, was the first country in the Caribbean and the second country on the continent of South America to introduce scouting. Scouting started here one hundred and seven years ago in 1909 and Cub Scouts were introduced ninety years ago, in 1926.
The model of scouting that was implanted here was based primarily on helping to build character among boys but as you see today, what used to be Boy Scouts catering only for males has now started to cater for females, and we welcome the females in this great movement. [Applause.] Boys and girls training and playing together learn to respect one another; they learn to recognise one another and that is the way [that] we should grow up, not segregated and apart.
The Scout movement used to be aligned to the churches and to the schools and in the past that made it easy for recruitment of young members. Even in those days the focus was not on academic education alone or religious instruction; scouting always involved outdoor activities and the development of life skills which appeal to young people.
The Scout movement was able to build a bond between young people, the school, the church and as you have heard today in our particular corner of the Caribbean; the mandirs and the masjids – the worshiping places of the Hindus and the Muslims and of course, most important the home. This bond between church, school and home contributed to developing the character of young people, so that they can become responsible citizens within their communities.
Caribbean societies such as ours are built on the sure foundations of family life, religious worship, education, responsible citizenship [and] loyalty to your countries. These are the pillars on which your Cub Scouts organisations are built. These values demand self-respect, respect for God, respect for your countries – that is why we have all the different flags here. We don’t want you to forget the countries from which you come, respect for the law, respect for each other, respect for property and as Bishop Alleyne told you just now, respect for our fragile environment. It is the environment that sustains life and as Pastor Lee said, “the earth is the LORD’S and the fulness thereof.”
The Scout movement of which you are a part, is based on mutual respect at all levels: respect in the family, respect in the neighbourhood, respect in the country and respect here in the Caribbean Community to which we all belong.
The Scout movement in the Caribbean has been inculcating these values in the young for more than a century. You Cub Scouts are continuing the virtuous tradition and treading a proud path by congregating here in Guyana for this 14th Caribbean Cuboree.
So let us give a big shout, let us greet everyone that is here: Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, Aruba, Barbados, Curacao, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Suriname, St. Martin, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Guyana and our dear friends from Europe – Poland. [Applause.]
We welcome you all to Guyana. I encourage you to enjoy yourselves; to educate yourselves about the different countries and the different cultures you will encounter. I encourage you to enjoy your visit to Guyana.
I encourage you to enjoy the experiences to which you will be exposed and I hope that these experiences will deepen your commitment to your own countries and to our great community- the Caribbean Community.
It gives me great pleasure to ask God’s blessing on this Cuboree and to formally declare open the 14th Caribbean Cuboree.
Thank you and May God bless you all.