Steering Bartica’s future
─ David ‘G’ boats and buses continue to transform Barticans’ lives
DPI, Guyana, Monday, September 2, 2019
Approximately 400 impressionable young minds that attend schools throughout Bartica in the Cuyuni-Mazaruni Region are the beneficiaries of the President’s David G’ buses and boats programme.
As the school-term shifted into high gear on September 2, boat operators from Region 7 woke up to perform their most treasured daily school day routine. Captain Glendon Byass is one such person who takes pride in executing the task that bears much responsibility.
Operating boats for 17 years and counting, Capt. Byass works the route from Itaballi, a riverine community in the Mazaruni River, to Bartica, and makes every effort to be punctual. On an average weekday, Capt. Byass reports to the Regional Democratic Council’s building, where the keys for the boat are uplifted. This is done shortly after 6am, after which he kickstarts his engine to make a 10-minute trip to Itaballi.
“From the time I come out here to start working, I feel proud of the job I am doing. know that when I reach my destination, I will meet polite children and teachers. They inspire me,” Capt. Byass told the Department of Public Information (DPI).
For Capt. Byass the most rewarding aspect of his job is ensuring that brings the students and teacher safely to school and also returns them home safely.
On the other hand, concerning the most challenging part of the job, Capt. Byass explained that the smoothness of the boat ride, or lack thereof, keeps him on his toes.
“Sometimes the water is smooth, sometimes it is rough. So, right there and then you have to know how to manoeuvre because remember you are dealing with children… Like the president said, when it comes to children you don’t make joke. So, I have to be accident-free and provide a proper service,” the captain remarked.
While the service is for the students, parents also benefit. Larry Johnny who has two children that attend Bartica Secondary and Three Miles Secondary spoke glowingly about the boat transport system. According to the father of two, “[the initiative] means a lot to us because, in this interior, we had suffered for a very long time trying to find proper transportation to get the kids to school. Now, I am very happy and grateful the government has provided this service for us.”
Over at Bartica Secondary School where many students were eager to begin their first day back at school, Third Former Jennifer Jeffrey was no different. Jennifer lives in Batavia, an Indigenous community in the Cuyuni River and uses one of the David ‘G’ boats to attend school. She mentioned that both the boat and bus allow her to be punctual at school and to focus on her studies.
Meanwhile, the driver of the David ‘G’ Bus in Bartica and former military serviceman 10 years Dexter Blackman, welcomed the work that lies ahead with the new school term. According to Blackman, “I plan to come out earlier and double up the trips between the school hours so that everybody will get to come to school at the time that they are supposed to be in school.”
The Five Bs initiative (boats, buses, bicycles, breakfast, and books) is just one aspect of President Granger’s push to ensure every child attends school. It has resulted in members of the private sector and ordinary citizens partnering with the government to enhance education delivery.
Regional Education Officer for Region 7, Akbar Chindu stated the service in Bartica is designed to improve school attendance.