-All children, not only Amerindians, must have a proper perspective of the struggles of the indigenous peoples
Responding to comments made by Chief of the Guyanese Organisation of Indigenous Peoples (GOIP) and PNC/R Member of Parliament, Dr. George Norton, during his speech at the launch of Amerindian Heritage Month yesterday, President Bharrat Jagdeo said he agreed that all children, not only Amerindian children must have a proper perspective of the struggles of the indigenous peoples throughout the ages.
However, he strongly disagreed with Norton’s views about “mendicancy syndrome”. He said Amerindians are not mendicants, stating that he has great respect for Amerindians who can live in very difficult circumstances, contrasting them with some people on the Coast who will complain even when opportunities are easily available.
Again disagreeing with Norton, President Jagdeo said we must subscribe to the philosophy of working together, instead of “who deh pon top”.
He said that even though some people would like that to continue, parties cannot continue to be built on race; barriers must be broken down and people must have the freedom to go into any party and any government that they wish. Calling out to young people he said “take your country over”.
He stressed that Guyana “belongs to us all, and all have an equal place in the land and are equal before the Constitution and, therefore, we must ensure that people have an opportunity to exercise this equality.”
President Jagdeo noted that, unfortunately, for a long time, people who live in the hinterland never managed to experience that equality.
He said that it is “unforgivable” that for decades in the post-independence period, intelligent children were “doomed” to have only a primary education, where it existed.
Jagdeo said that though the problem is not completely fixed, all children have access to primary education and secondary education has been expanded, noting that the government is now building a secondary school at Sand Creek – a hinterland community.
He also alluded to the fact that many Amerindians are even studying abroad. In this regards, President Jagdeo told the audience that he had, earlier in the day, attended a graduation ceremony where several Amerindian students were among the more than 90 persons that graduated.