Gomatie Gangadin: Good afternoon sir and thank you for giving us this opportunity. Sir, I want to bring to your attention job creation and your government’s role. Sir, how do you see your government playing a role in job creation in Guyana?
President David Granger: The Government’s role is vital because employment for young people, particularly, is based on sound education systems and this is the best start the government can give young people – to ensure that they get to school and that the type of education they receive in schools fits them for the world of work.
In some cases, we have had drop outs. As far as I am concerned, too many drop outs but even so we are putting more emphasis on technical and vocational education and soon measures will be introduced in the National Assembly to explain our youth policy and, of course, education will be the centrepiece of the youth policy.
So as far as Government is concerned, in the first instance, it must pay more attention to the traditional educational system; second, to get more young people into the technical and vocational training.
Third, the Government has to work with the private sector. There is no way that the Government could give each and every person a job. What the Government does is create a facilitating environment and by working with civil society, by working with employers, and by introducing policies which facilitate the type of job creation that we expect in villages, for example, in the new towns that have been created we feel that more young people will enter the world of work.
So, the Government is pivotal, and the Government, my Government, is going to continue to assist young people to get jobs by working with the private sector, working with civil society and working to ensure that they get the type of education and technical preparation to go into the world of work. But let me say this, it is important for people to see self-employment as the way forward, rather than to become employees of the government.
Gomatie Gangadin: Sir I’m glad that you touched on education because this has been a very major point for you since your assumption to office and you have taken this message… everywhere that you have gone; every part of Guyana. Sir, how do you see education specifically as the key to job creation and could you expand on how, over time, a more educated youth population could actually create jobs and could lead to a driver of the economy?
President David Granger: Well there are two main areas in which educated young people could move more easily and more smoothly into self-employment. One of course is in the field of Information Technology. I would say that Government has started to make strides. We have created the Ministry of Public Telecommunications and we will provide the facilities for more young people to get access to the information super highway; information is important.
The other thing is that young people have to get the opportunity to go into private enterprise and in fields like agro-processing; and this will be one of the areas both in the hinterland and coastland which young people could get this new technology. So that from the time they leave school, they will be able to enter into some form of private enterprise.
We are not in a position now to guarantee State employment. In fact I would discourage young people from seeking State employment because it is what one person once called employed poverty. The salaries are low and the possibilities are limited but an educated person is more likely to be innovative.
So there are many fields that educated people can go into, for example, tourism, producing other types of products for the market, for example, fish products or vegetable products. Instead of having potato chips with your fish at the fish shop you can have sweet potato chips.
So, young entrepreneurs who are innovative and who can access Information Technology are likely to move ahead and the government can become facilitators in these fields. So, government is not going to sit on its hands and allow young people to remain unemployed. Government is going to be an active participant to help young people to get into the world of work.
Gomatie Gangadin: Sir, continuing on that point my final question to you. What do you believe are some of the things or what are some of the things Government will be doing to create an enabling environment for investors and young entrepreneurs and what can young people expect in this instance?
President David Granger: Well apart from the traditional education system we expect that in the field of marketing, and this is one of the instructions that we have given to the Foreign Service – particularly in terms of our access to the Caribbean Single Market and Economy. Much of our agricultural produce, fish, vegetables, fruits, preserves, can be sold in the Eastern Caribbean.
So, it’s the Government’s job to open windows, open the doors to new marketing opportunities through CSME. So we have a role to play in helping bonafide producers to get their products sold. So we need to develop not only the services but we also need to develop products.
Now in saying that, there are many areas in which Guyana has an advantage over other Caribbean countries in terms of value added. We produced a lot of timber, we can make furniture, we can sell doors, we can sell windows, we can sell household furniture. We produce gold, we can make gold jewellery.
So, there are many areas – food; we can go into food processing and supply the hotel industry in the Eastern Caribbean. So Government must have a type of education policy which allows young people to go into these new fields and that’s the way we can help to open doors to new markets.
Gomatie Gangadin: Thank you very much, sir
President David Granger: Thank you very much, Gomatie.

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