Addressing the annual awards ceremony at the organisation’s headquarters on Woolford Avenue, he committed to providing cash support to assist in preparing youths for a lifetime of work and service. “I want to renew the commitment of our administration to provide an annual subvention to the Scout Association of Guyana….,” he said.
Granger pledged that government would continue to financially support the Scout Association of Guyana “because I would like to see the scout movement move far beyond the coastland.”
He, however, cautioned the gathering against expecting too much cash because his administration was saddled with finding a rescue package for the highly indebted and low producing Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuco). “Don’t clap too hard because I have to bail out GuySuco and that’s 16 million,” he quipped.
The Guyanese leader’s commitment came against the background of damning statistics about the state of youths in Guyana- 500 dropouts every month from primary and secondary schools. “Many of them are illiterate, many of them are innumerate.” He added that two out of every five youths are unemployable because they are either unqualified or lack work experience, entrepreneurial and life-skills. He questioned how youths could be denied jobs because of inexperience if they are not given opportunities to acquire such. He also noted that 75 percent of criminal inmates of the prison system are young persons whose lives could have been turned around by entities like the Scout Association of Guyana.
With youths grappling with poor grades at the National Grade Six Assessment, anti-social behavior such as drinking or smoking and extreme cyclical poverty; Granger said the key was bringing them back into mainstream society. “The solution is not necessarily to create more drop-in centres . The solution is to reintegrate them into their family,” he said. He added that instead of drop-in centres, Guyana needs technical institutes, clubs and scouting associations.
The President was at pains to make the point that Guyana is the largest and most beautiful Caribbean country in that is endowed unique rich flora and fauna. “It is through adventure, it is through the activities of organisations such as the Scouts Association of Guyana that you can discover the size and beauty of this country,” he said.