Education and agro-processing will transform the Berbice River -President says as he distributed Christmas gifts at Hururu and Kimbia

Georgetown, Guyana – (December 10, 2017) President David Granger, today, visited the villages of Kimbia and Hururu, located along the Berbice River in Upper Demerara- Berbice (Region Ten) as part of his annual tradition of distributing toys to children across the country during the Christmas season.  The Head of State used the opportunity to tell residents that emphasis on education, agriculture and value added production along with the preservation of the environment will play a leading role in the transformation of the villages and Region into booming economic hubs.

At Kimbia, where he became the first sitting Head of State to visit the village, President David Granger, while addressing residents from surrounding villages, including Calcuni, Maria Henrietta, Sand Hills, Ebini and Hururu at the Kimbia Primary School, said that the Berbice River possesses vast natural resources.  However, he believes that in order for communities to take advantage of those resources to improve economic prospects, education is key.  The President pointed out that this is the reason he has ensured that school boats have been provided to the children of their communities under the ‘Boats, Buses, Bicycles plus Breakfast and Books or Five B’s Programme.

“The children of Guyana must lead us to the future but to do that, we must have an educated nation. The first thing is education. You must stay in school. Every single child must go to school. You must go to school and when we get enough money, we will put more boats in this River. No child should stay at home because they can’t get to school, but education must not stop at nursery. It must go on to Primary and Secondary and I want children from Kimbia to be graduating from the University of Guyana. Don’t drop out and don’t quit and whatever we can do to get you to school we will do that,” he said.

The President said that more innovative approaches, through education, must be taken to further develop Guyana’s agricultural potential and this is where investment in education and technology transfer becomes critically important. “Here in this Berbice River we have abundant resources and we hope to discuss with the Chairman and his Councillors how we are going to generate agro-processing in the Berbice River. Everything you can grow let us process these goods and get them out to New Amsterdam, Georgetown and the Caribbean. To do these things you need power; solar energy and so I will be discussing with the regional administration and the Member of Parliament how we can start getting electricity into these communities,” he said.

The President also committed to exploring the possibility of providing transportation for the movement of local produce to market centres. This call to action by the Head of State was echoed by a resident of the village, who called on the residents of the Berbice River to focus on becoming self-sufficient.

“We have the resources and let us exploit it and work for the development of Guyana. I have confidence in President Granger and I know what he came into office and met but let us be patient. I have seen progress in such a short time. We have to work to help ourselves. We have coconut trees here and I am seeing coconut sugar, coconut flour, coconut oil, coconut milk and coconut milk powder on the market. These are things we can produce right here,” she said.

President Granger called on residents to take a more responsible approach to the protection of the environment, since this is what they rely on for their livelihoods. He added that all Guyanese should be proud of the nation’s patrimony and become stewards of what he called ‘the land of giants’.

“I want to call on you to protect the environment. Without the environment we won’t be able to plant and grow food. So I ask you to look after your education, employment of the young people and environment. You have to live but do not destroy the environment,” he said.

Toshao of Kimbia Village, Mr. Ashton Boyle lauded the President’s stance on education and youth development. “Our President is especially interested in the future of this country. That is why he is placing emphasis in our youths. President Granger you have done well being the first President to ever visit Kimbia. We are overjoyed to have you here with us and you are always welcomed,” he said.

Meanwhile, at Hururu, the President met with workers from the bauxite company, RUSAL Guyana (Russkiy alyuminiy), who used the opportunity to appeal to him to bring a resolution to ongoing issues related to outstanding payments and tax-free allowances. The Head of State Committed to looking into the matter and working to ensure that workers get what is owed to them.

During his address to residents there, the President also issued the call for them to make sustainable use of their abundant resources. He told the residents that while much of his year is spent visiting other parts of the country, he takes pleasure in visiting the villages along the Rivers at Christmas time, which are often forgotten and bringing cheer to the many faces.

“We have come to celebrate with you and brings gifts for the children. We are celebrating the birth of Christ and we have come to celebrate that with you. In celebrating this season, we want to honour our children because they represent our future. The children here at Hururu represent the future of this country,” he said.

More than 300 children from Aruaima, Calcuni, Coomacka, Lonsdale, Wiruni received Christmas gifts at Hururu, while in excess of 100 children at Kimbia received toys as well.  President Granger was accompanied during the visits by Minister of Public Affairs in the Ministry of the Presidency, Mrs. Dawn Hastings-Williams, Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Ms. Annette Ferguson, his granddaughter, Ms. Athena Gaskin, Member of Parliament, Mr. Jermaine Figueira, Regional Chairman, Mr. Renis Morian and Chairperson of the People’s National Congress-Region Ten, Ms. Sandra Adams.

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