The village of Moraikobai, situated up the Mahaicony River, Mahaica-Berbice (Region Five), yesterday, became the latest beneficiary under President David Granger’s Five B’s or ‘Boats, Buses, Bicycles plus Breakfast and Books’ Programme, which is aimed at ensuring that every child has access to, and stays in school.
President Granger commissioned a 42-seater boat, which was donated by the Guyana Goldfields Incorporated/Aurora Gold Project. The company handed over the boat to Minister of Social Cohesion, Ms. Amna Ally, earlier this year.
In addition to handing over the boat, the President has committed to ensuring that a number of bicycles are handed over to the community before the beginning of the new school term to cater for travel, during the dry season.
Before officially commissioning the boat, President Granger in his remarks, said that in November 2015, three women – Deputy Toshao, Ms. Mary Joseph, Ms. Shenelle Adrian and Ms. Lynette Adrian- from the village visited him at the Ministry of the Presidency, where they shared the plight of the students, who travel as much as 100 miles to get to the Central Mahaicony Secondary School. The children are forced to pay as much as $3000 per day to travel out of the village to attend school. Consequently, school dropouts and absenteeism had become prevalent.
“I was encouraged to come here by three wise women. They came to me last year November and I did promise to come and today I am fulfilling that promise. What they asked me for, was a boat and I have brought the boat. These are the women who came out of this river and took the initiative to come and see me. I didn’t refuse to see them. I didn’t tell a clerk to see them. They came into my office and I gave them my word. I am honouring that promise,” the President said even as he gave each of them a token of appreciation.
Given his intense focus on education, the President noted that he was moved to initiate action so that the burden of travelling can be significantly reduced for both students and parents alike of the village.
Minister of Social Cohesion, Ms. Amna Ally, who has been playing an instrumental role in the coordination of the B’s programme, in her remarks, highlighted that though the President had made the commitment since 2015, he has fulfilled the promise so that the younger generation can benefit to take Guyana forward.
Meanwhile, Toshao of the Moraikobai, Mr. Collin Adrian, expressed his thanks, noting that it is heartening to see the President keep his promise which he had made to the women who had visited his office in November last year. He also extended thanks to the Government for its quick response to addressing the village’s flooding situation about two weeks ago.
The Boat is expected to benefit at least 50 students and Headmistress of the St. Francis Primary School, Ms. Shalome Calistro, hopes that it will significantly boost the morale of the students and parents alike, encouraging regular and punctual attendance at school.
To date, eight boats and nine buses have been commissioned by the President while hundreds of bicycles have been distributed to communities across the ten administrative regions of the country. (GINA)