March 21, 1998

Dear Sir,

I refer to a VOA news caption that "Argentina and Guyana were among the leaders in recording economic growth for 1997".

We are being misled that economic growth is the way forward, while the illiteracy rate continues to rise and many are still suffering. People are getting poorer and more people occupy Regent Street as their beds in the night.

There is a proposal to raise the fees of Guyana's leading academic institution (UG) from $127000 to $145000. Many already can't afford to attend.

Growth should be measured by the number of skilled and educated people, by eradicating poverty and channeling funds into the right areas.

If Guyana is on the road of progress, why do people continue to migrate? Why are people denied equal opportunity?. Ian McDonald said a few months ago that the economy is in difficulty because there are no fully prepared youths to replace the older ones.

Leaving school early has become a common practice, street children are on the rise, child labour is on the increase. If you ask 80% of the youths today "what about furthering your education?" they would reply immediately and say "this is time for money boy, not books" Is this progress?

I would guarantee to the Minister of Education that there are less fortunate youths who if given the opportunity would do better than most of the ones having access to money and yet not making full use of it.

You cannot measure progress by economic growth only. Messrs. Jagdeo, Nagamootoo, Jeffrey and Shaik Baksh are all products of free education introduced by Mr. Burnham.

In concluding, I would take this opportunity to congratulate Omai for its recent input into the family of Technology. This sets the pace, despite Omai's disregard for our environment, so that other entities can follow in its footsteps and bolster the faculties of Agriculture and Health Services which are the major faculties in addition to technology on which we would be depending in the near future.

Unemployment is on the rise and there has been little new investment 1992.

Yours faithfully
R. R. Shepherd