President announces $50M funding for Region Three youth projects

By Amanda Wilson
Guyana Chronicle
May 14, 2000

PRESIDENT Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday announced funding to the tune of $50M for the implementation of projects Region Three (West Demerara/Essequibo Islands) youths develop to benefit their communities.

The President announced the funding at the official launching of his brainchild the `President's Youth Leadership Conference'.

The youths will develop the projects during the conference.

Addressing an audience of more than 420 young people from various Secondary Schools and youth organisations in Region Three, at the West Demerara Secondary School, Jagdeo said the conference is aimed at giving youths the opportunity to be involved in their Region's development.

He assured them that the money will be available in another two weeks, while pointing out that resources have to be spent in order to get a positive outcome.

The President also urged participants not to only focus on physical structures, but also on programmes that could solve some of the many problems youths face in the region.

The Guyanese leader noted that even though these problems could not be eradicated overnight, the conference will help young people develop some key skills including interaction, leadership and communication.

Youths cannot focus only on issues involving sports and culture, they must also be involved in politics, the economic development of the country among other issues, the President stressed.

He pointed out that youths have a wealth of ideas and are enthusiastic about sharing them, but over the years, these ideas have been rejected.

"I strongly believe that for us to move forward, we must utilise every bit of enthusiasm and creativity coming from young people," Jagdeo said.

According to him, technology has advanced and the world is rapidly changing but still, many persons are not computer literate.

He noted that Guyana has the potential to become a great nation, especially in the Caribbean, but stressed that its people must put aside their differences and feel proud that they are Guyanese.

"It is up to the young people to be the flag bearers. Our country has suffered too long because of division. It is time to move forward," the President said.

He added that there is a need for more vital programmes, including computer and reasoning programmes, to be implemented in schools.

The President said that the Government is focusing on education, water, health care and job creation, and pointed out that over the last eight years, the funding allocated to the education sector has increased substantially.

Mr Odinga Lumumba, Project Coordinator and Member of Parliament said there must be a relation between the Government and the people in order for the conference to be successful.

He said the programme was launched in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture and urged participants to look beyond race, culture and religion.

The Ministerial Adviser on Empowerment said that there is also a National Advisory Committee and a Regional Planning Committee working along with the project.

He assured the audience that projects chosen by young people will commence within 30-40 days.

Ms Anita Latchman, a West Demerara Secondary School teacher, during her opening remarks, said youths should accept challenges and urged participants to voice their concerns on the things that are affecting them.

Region Three Regional Chairman, Mr Pariag Sukhai, also addressed the gathering yesterday.

Following the addresses, members of the audience had the opportunity to seek the President's assistance to solve problems affecting their communities.