– at distribution of $185M ‘Because we care’ cash grant in Region Nine
Minister of Public Affairs, Kwame McCoy, MP, and Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond, MP, visited several Region Nine communities at the weekend to distribute the $185 million ‘Because we care’ cash grant initiative for students.
At the Arapaima Primary School, Minister McCoy told parents and guardians that unlike the ‘Five Bs’ programme initiated by the Coalition, the ‘Because we care’ cash grant will benefit every public school student.
“That is how we operate in the People’s Progressive Party/Civic Government, we are a Government for all the people.
We are a Government that understands the needs of our people and we develop and implement programmes and policies and strategies to be able to deal with those challenges facing our ordinary Guyanese brothers and sisters.”
Minister McCoy said the education grant is the realisation of a PPP/C manifesto promise and allows parents to use it to equip their children for school.
He also highlighted the important role teachers play, particularly now as they help their students to navigate learning amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minister McCoy also said while the Government is building the educational infrastructure, and initiating programmes for education, parents are also being given assistance to send their children to school.
He assured parents that exciting times are ahead for Guyana, and education is a powerful tool that will propel Guyana’s development.
“It is by educating our people, educating our children, our country will be able to benefit from their education and we will be able to accelerate the pace of development to move forward very quickly and swiftly, in implementing our infrastructural programmes that are necessary for the social and economic advancement of our country,” he said.
Meanwhile, Minister Walrond said the grant will increase over the next five years in keeping with the PPP/C manifesto.
“It will grow until 2025 [where] it will be $50, 000. Now that is significant and that is not a gimmick, that is us as Government telling you that we are convinced that investment into the education of our children is the best thing.
We are convinced that our country as a whole, will see tremendous exponential returns when we invest in education,” she said.
Minister Walrond also noted that today’s children seem able to learn faster than previous generations as times are changing rapdily. The Government recognises this, she said, which is why it is focused on ensuring that students are empowered.
“Our children are no less than the children in the United States or North America or in Japan, our children are just as brilliant, some even more brilliant, just as intelligent, and we have decided that education and educating every single child in Guyana with a quality education is the way to go so this grant, it does just that,” she said.
Many parents expressed their appreciation to the Government for providing the funds to allow them to send their children to school.
Lethem resident, Ms. Jenny Joseph, said she benefitted from previous cash grants and is happy that the PPP has restarted the initiative.
“I really appreciate it, thank the Government for it. I would like meh children to come back to school,” she said, adding, “I’m not working, just my husband working, so when the other party take over everything shut down, so I really glad for this lil money that I collect.”
Ms. Alyssa Bell of Haiowa is also grateful for the Government’s cash assistance.
“My children already have plans; they want their school materials because they get to understand that school will be reopening in September and they are happy for it because it would be a good help for them,” she told DPI.
Ms. Meryl Adolf, another Haiowa resident expressed similar sentiments.
“I am a mother of four and this cash grant will be very helpful to me because I have a daughter in Grade Six. She will be writing her NGSA next week and this cash grant will be very important to me to buy her school needs when she has to pass to secondary school.
I would like to say thanks to the Government of Guyana, to our president, special thanks. We never get opportunity like this to get money for our children,” she said.
Mr. Jason Foo of Central Lethem also expressed gratitude for the initiative. “I think the cash grant off the bat is one of the best initiatives that any Government could do and to have an increase in that over the years to come, will definitely be a boost to individuals, to families, to communities, to the country at large, and once money is flowing there is gonna be development.”
The Ministers visited several communities including Kumu, Moco Moco, Quarrie, Katoka and Yupukari.