Georgetown, Guyana – (January 13, 2018) President David Granger, yesterday, commissioned two new school buses in Novar, Mahaica-Berbice (Region Five) and Fyrish, East Berbice- Corentyne (Region Six), under the ‘Boats, Buses, Bicycles plus Breakfast and Books (‘Five Bs’) Programme as he noted that investments in education coupled with development and emphasis on the agricultural sector will play a leading role in the transformation of the regions and the country.

The President, who first commissioned one of the buses at the Fyrish Primary School, said that the buses are a part of the Government’s continuous effort to ensure that every Guyanese child has access to an education as it is only through education that they can gain employment and become empowered, thereby contributing to the growth and development of Guyana. The President noted that investment in a child’s education is an investment in a nation and it is up to the Government and all other stakeholders to ensure that they are equipped and provided with the opportunities, which can help them to create a bright future for themselves, their families and their country.

“You are the future of the country and if we do not look after you and ensure that you have the tools to administer this great country then we would have failed to do our duty. Being here is part of my duty to ensure that you are fully prepared to take charge of this country. One thing this government is going to do is to ensure that we hand over this country to children like you. Every day and every month more money is being passed back into the households so that you don’t have to spend [it] in transportation for school. This is not a political gimmick. This is being done to ensure that children can get to school and learn…the aim is not just to provide a bus. I am here to provide equality to this country and I believe that this country can never be truly equal unless children have equal access to education. That is the root of equality,” President Granger said.

Education is a central part of the Government’s agenda and President David Granger said that the administration has a very clear mission to improve access, attendance and achievement for students across the country. Speaking to students, parents, teachers and regional officials, President Granger said that when he took office he immediately elevated education as a key priority area for the long-term development of the country.

“In time to come, every child can wake up and be sure to know that they can get to school. We want ‘A’ students. Students who have access to school, who can attend school and those who can achieve in school and we want to give them equality to access so that they can inherit the fruits of this country,” he said.

President Granger expressed gratitude to the donors especially Mr. Peter Lewis of Berbice, who has already donate three buses, one boat and hundreds of bicycles, noting that it is heartening to see so many persons becoming involved in the mission to educate every Guyanese child. “We have to say thank you to Mr. Peter Lewis, who is a veteran of this programme. Thank you, Mr. Lewis,” the President said.

Minister of Social Protection, Ms. Amna Ally, who has been coordinating the ‘Five Bs’ programme, said that its implementation is testimony to a caring Government with a vision to take Guyana to new and greater heights. She noted that the Government is responsive and proactive to the needs of the people and will through every means necessary, seek to address social ills and inequality issues, specifically issues that impede children and young people from reaching their full potential in life.

“Today is a testimony for a Government that cares for its people. It is a testimony that we have a leader who cares about the children and the people of this nation. Today, I’m here to let you know, you, the people of Region number Six, know that he is a visionary leader and his vision for this nation will take Guyana to new heights and we will soon see a paradigm shift in our education system in the not-so-distant future. We have a President that believes in reducing poverty, reducing inequalities, and providing a good life for all. His Excellency initiated the ’Five Bs’ programme in 2015 because during our man outreaches and campaigns throughout Guyana when we were in opposition, we saw the plight of children, many who lived in rural, riverine and hinterland areas, who could not attend school but I am here today to say that we saw the challenges and we acted because this Government is a proactive Government,” Minister Ally said.

The Minister also said that access to education must not be seen as a privilege for some, but as a basic human right for all Guyanese children and every child or teenage boy or girl must be able to thrive in order to support the future of high productivity, innovation and economic growth. “I want to assure you that we are deeply committed to building a nation where all children, regardless of their gender, socio-economic background or circumstances, have access to free, compulsory, equitable and quality education. We will not permit the unique talents of our young people to fall by the wayside. We will and intend to provide safe learning environments, text books, support for parents and transportation for our children to attend school as is evident today with the commissioning of this school bus,” Minister Ally said.

Regional Executive Officer, East Berbice- Corentyne, Ms. Kim Williams-Stephen in her remarks, pledged the support of the regional administration in maintaining the buses. She noted that since the buses were donated to the region, school attendance has increased significantly, while parents now have more to spend in the home.

“Just like our dear President, we believe that education is the key to alleviate poverty and that our children need to be given the best opportunity to access education. The ‘Five Bs’ initiative has had a tremendous impact on the education in this region thus far; we have already measured an increase in school attendance as well as improvement in punctuality and grades at various schools across the region. The buses also [allowed]parents and guardians to have more cash at their disposal. Presently they are three buses in operation in the region. We are also the [beneficiaries] of over 200 bicycles and one boat to assist our learners in getting to school. We at the regional administration would like to wholeheartedly thank you for your selfless initiative,” Ms. Williams-Stephen said.

Over at Novar, Mahaicony, President Granger echoed the sentiments shared at Fryish as he recommitted his Government’s efforts to ensuring that every Guyanese child is given the access and resources that they need to attend and excel in school. “Regardless of race, religion or region, we will see that every child is given access to education. Children must have equal access,” he said.

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