Strong homes, churches, schools needed –to effectively tackle crime, disease, ignorance and poverty, says President

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President David Granger being escorted into the National Cultural Centre by Bishop Otto Wade and Reverend Kofia Nials

PRESIDENT David Granger has issued a call for citizens to redouble their efforts to build strong homes, churches and schools, so as to effectively tackle crime, disease, ignorance and poverty.Addressing the congregation of the Guyana District of the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas at the closing rally of its 2016 Conference, held at the National Cultural Centre, the President said: “Together we must work to achieve the national unity we dreamt of 50 years ago. We must enhance the social cohesion we hoped would have been the dividend of Independence; (and we must) recommit ourselves to building this beautiful country.”

Speaking on the issue of crime, the Head of State said strong institutions (homes, schools and churches) are critical in order to nurture the young generation particularly through the difficult adolescent years and encourage them to stay on the right path.

The Head of State noted that it is also important to address the causes of crime.

Another issue the President believes is hindering Guyana’s development in the proliferation of diseases such as dengue, malaria, gastroenteritis, and more recently Chikungunya and Zika.

“We are called to ensure a cleaner and greener environment, a more sanitary and healthy environment, so that we can bring up our children in a healthy country and overcome that horseman of epidemic diseases,” the President said.

Ignorance, the President noted, is another factor that must be addressed in order for the country to move forward. He said it is the greatest threat to the country’s development, and he explained that too many children are failing exams, even at the primary level, being not qualified to enter secondary schools; while those who enter are ill-equipped to complete.

“Every year, over 4,000 Guyanese children drop out of primary and secondary schools; many of them are semi-literate or completely illiterate. We cannot build a country, we cannot build a new society, we cannot go into another 50 years of Guyanese Independence with a population which is dropping out of school at this rate,” President Granger stressed.

The President’s drive to ensure that, without exception, every child attends school has given birth to the now overwhelmingly successful “Three Bs” programme, which has already touched the lives of children across the country.

With regard to the issue of poverty, the President said it is the root of inequality which affects a large part of the population, preventing them from getting an education and overcoming diseases, and seducing young people into a life of crime.

“Poor people have very few choices …the Government cannot solve these problems alone. The message I bring to you today is to appeal to the Methodist Church to work with other non-governmental organisations, other religious organisations, to overcome these four horsemen of the apocalypse,” he said.

The annual conference saw a series of activities being undertaken over the past week, including a health fair held in Georgetown. It brought together members of the Berbice, Essequibo, Mahaica, West Demerara, Georgetown chapters of the Methodist Church in Guyana.

Another high point of the conference was the appointment of Bishop Glenna Spencer as the Methodist Church’s new District President. The conference was held under the theme “Vision 2300+ Moving Forward, Empowered by the Holy Spirit”. (Ministry of the Presidency)