I believe that it should be every parent’s dream to have their children succeed in life and so when my son was selected during the holidays to go to GUYSUCO Training School in Berbice, the whole family was excited. But sadly, this joy is bittersweet because things are not right at that institution.
It is disturbing when my son related the ordeal he and the first year students undergo at the hands of the senior boys; some of them they have to call “Sir” with every word they utter.
My son came home on Thursday last for the weekend and didn’t want to return to Berbice. We had to actually beg him to go back and he broke down in tears as he related to us what he is going through. He said that some boys quitted already.
The older boys steal the first year snacks and bounce the students’ head. They can talk to them anyhow and these students must never answer back or they will get punishment. Sometimes the older boys butt them and hit them in the chest and they have a tendency to pick on the quiet boys. They told the boys that they will all get beat up once they come to GUYSUCO school.
The monitors frequently punish them for things others did, e.g. If anything goes missing, everyone in the wing receives punishment. Every time something goes wrong the whole group suffers. The monitors who are known as the ‘Task Force’ carry out the punishment.
When the students are punished and have to clean drains inside and outside of the compound, they sometimes work beyond lunch hour. Once they miss the lunch period, they starve them until dinner time. There is no potable water and no ice and no washing machine at the GUYSUCO hostel. On some occasions the students have black tea to drink at breakfast.
And while the students should be comfortable when at home in the hostel, the monitors insist that they must wear belts and put their t-shirt or shirt in their pants. This is like GUYSUCO prison for young, ambitious Guyanese who aspire to develop the sugar industry.
People send their children for higher education to contribute to this country and not to develop fear from constant intimidation. These students are affected emotionally and psychologically by unsupervised self-powered monitors and the other second year bullies. In this kind of way, they would not be able to perform at their best. The estates that send these students should really look into their affairs.
I understand they have strict rules and students cannot have cell phones but as a parent I want the government and Minister of Agriculture to intervene so that our children will no longer feel like prisoners in such a prestigious institution.
GUYSUCO should teach these second year students to be disciplined because if this cycle continues there will be a total breakdown of order and we will have to deal with violent men at our estates in the near future.
I want the President, the Minister of Agriculture and the Minister of Education to make training at GUYSUCO a positive life experience so that our young people will feel comfortable and will perform excellently in a stress-free environment.