Georgetown, Guyana – (January 24, 2018) President David Granger has reminded young people of their crucial role in nation-building and urged them to seize every available opportunity to become the best they can be in whichever profession they choose right here in Guyana. “You can be whatever you want to be and I do hope that while I am here, I will be able to give you that vision and that sense of purpose so that you can want to use the resources to venture into your profession of choice,” he said. The President made these remarks at a special luncheon, which he hosted at State House for a group of youths drawn from Regions Three, Four, Five, Six and Ten. The President pledged to host youth engagement activities as often as possible to ensure that youths in Guyana remain fully engaged with the country’s leadership and proposed that a youth conference to be held later this year.

Acknowledging that youth unemployment is a challenge his administration has had to make a priority, the Head of State informed that Government is currently in the process of consolidating all of the youth programmes including initiatives such as the Hinterland Employment and Youth Service (HEYS) and the Youth Entrepreneurial Skills Training Programme (YEST).

“We are bringing all the youth programmes together to have a common core curriculum so that every child, whether or not he or she is a school dropout, who enters that programme will get common training, which will prepare him or her to get employment in Guyana. I don’t like to see young children, some of them who have left secondary school in the Rupununi for example, drifting over to Brazil to do menial work. I think they can stay here and get a good living, not only because oil is on the horizon but because we can produce practically every food that the Eastern Caribbean needs,” the President said.

In this regard, he outlined the prospects and the many opportunities that lie in entrepreneurship such as value-added and agro-processing ventures. The President spoke of the importance of education, which is intrinsically linked to employment. President Granger urged students and young adults to pursue higher education, noting that tertiary education is mandatory for most jobs today. “The country is wide open and it is open to you…Your education will not only equip you for employment but it will also equip your for entrepreneurial activities so that you can become rich,” he said.

Speaking of the environment, the President reminded those in attendance that they are the ones who will inherit the national patrimony and therefore, they must develop a greater appreciation and love for their country. “You will inherit this country…This is the most beautiful, the most bountiful country in the Caribbean…I want you to love your country, I want you to own your country, I want you to be the best you could be,” he said.

The event was coordinated by Mr. Brian Smith, who holds the post as Deputy Director of Sport and who is also a youth leader. He expressed his appreciation to the President, who indicated his intention to host this activity back in November 2017, where he also indicated that it must be an engagement that is free from any political influences.

The Coordinator also assured that this event will be expanded to include an even wider cross-section of youths. “Whilst we have not been able, this year, to have more members from the outlying regions, it is definitely something that will be done next year,” he said. He added that this luncheon, which will be an annual feature, allows for the President to interact with young people and in many way, removed any impression of a veil of mystery regarding State House and the Presidency, in other words, opening up the country’s highest Office to youths.

Representatives from President’s Youth Award Republic of Guyana (PYARG), the Department of Youth and Sport, Director of Youth, the Volunteer Support Platform, African Cultural Development Association (ACDA) Youth, the University of Guyana’s International Affairs Association and Student Association, the Rose Hall Town Youth and Sports Club (RHTYSC), Guyana Environment Initiative and young professionals and entrepreneurs attended the event.

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