PRESIDENT David Granger Saturday pledged to add two more Bs to his “Boats, Buses and Bicycles” programme, namely books and breakfast, to ensure children from across the country are not hindered from attending school.
The President was at the time speaking at the commissioning ceremony in McKenzie, Linden for a school boat, which has been donated for use by children who live in the Demerara River area.
The “David G II,” which was donated by CGX Energy Incorporated, last year, and was originally for use in the Pomeroon River, was determined to be better suited for the children in the Upper Demerara River. Additionally, the regional administration has allocated finances in the budget to purchase a bus for the children in the Christiansburg, Linden area.
The Head of State also used the opportunity to call on the Upper Demerara-Upper Berbice, Regional Democratic Council (RDC) to establish the Upper Demerara Education Scholarship Trust, in which he promised to heavily invest.
The President noted that every month, approximately 400 children drop out from the school system and seldom complete secondary education. This, he said, must not be allowed to continue, and every effort should be made to ensure that the hindrances to education are eliminated.
“It is when I come to regions like this that I get ideas. They have to get up in the morning and get to school 400 out of school every month.
“Some of them never go to school because they cannot afford to go to school. Part of the problem is that some parents lack money to provide transportation for the children to get to school and part of the solution is for us to provide transportation for them to get to school and it is my job to solve these problems.
“I want to ensure that every child gets to school; it’s a simple mission.
“The constitution says education is an entitlement and I want to fulfil that constitutional requirement.
“Children must not be kept at home because they can’t afford to go to school,” President Granger said.
It was on this note that the President announced that he was exploring the idea of introducing books and breakfast in the schools across the country, so that the students can start the day with full stomachs, and without the burden of worrying how to get to school.
He also issued a plea to the residents to ensure that every possible avenue is explored in ensuring that the children are able to get to school and stay in school. He noted that if the families could not afford it, then the government will work in every way possible to aid this.
The regional chairman noted that the boats will go a long way in ensuring that the region’s children are granted an education, which can only lead to the overall development of the country.
“This boat will be used as far down the Demerara River as possible. It is going to benefit at least 60 children. This will ensure that children are in school because when they are not in school, we have work for the police, for the courts, for the magistrates; so we don’t want the deviant behaviour.
“We would like our children to be educated. Once you are educated, it is easy to get you into a developmental programme than anything else,” Mr. Morian said.
Karen Garraway, a resident of McKenzie, Linden, also praised the initiative, noting that the region had been stifled for far too long and it is refreshing to see that changes which are taking place, in the interest of everyone involved.
“We are grateful for what the President is doing. For the months that he has been there, a lot has been done. Over a number of years, we only lived off of promises but now we can be thankful for what he is doing; he is doing a great, great job. I think it is a very good thing in this community,” she said.