Georgetown, Guyana – (October 15, 2018) The Ministry of the Presidency strongly condemns as inaccurate and misleading, the Stabroek News, Monday, October 15, 2018 editorial which contains several erroneous statements, which must be corrected.
In 2015, President David Granger launched the Public Education and Transportation Service (PETS), which was popularly known as the Three Bs’ Initiative, to provide equal access to education to all children. This initiative was born out of the recognition that many parents found it costly to send their children to school.
To date, over 1,161 bicycles have been distributed to school children and 27 school buses and nine boats have been given to communities across the country to enable children to attend school. The PETS programme has, in some cases, allowed parents to save as much as $48,000 per student, per month, money which can now be funnelled into improving the household.
Despite the fact that the Head of State and the Ministry of the Presidency has made it clear, from the inception of the programme, that no State funds are used to purchase the bicycles, the boats or the buses, the Stabroek News editorial asserts otherwise.
The Ministry of the Presidency is now making it pellucid that all of the bicycles, boats and buses presented to students and communities from the start of the programme on July 15, 2015 and over the last three years were donated by private citizens, civic organisations and members of the business community, both locally and in the Diaspora.
Additionally, the claim that the Department of Public Information (DPI) should not have attended or provided coverage of a public event is ludicrous. The DPI is responsible for disseminating accurate information on government policies, programmes, services and activities, through the print and electronic media in a timely manner, with the view of generating public support for the said policies, programmes, services and activities, thereby creating the environment for them to succeed. The meeting held at the Rose Hall Primary School was a community meeting, which the Head of State attended, and to which the entire media corps was invited.
It must be noted that President Granger has always championed local democracy both in and out of office. As Opposition Leader, he demanded Local Government Elections (LGEs) be held and in March 2016, less than one year after he was elected to office, the LGEs were held. The President’s message across all Local Authority Areas has remained consistent.
The Ministry is therefore calling on the Stabroek News to issue a retraction of this editorial.