It’s a shame and disgrace to see a certain political party using a couple of parents to picket the Government and the Education Ministry for a mere pittance of $10,000. The “Because We Care” voucher was invented for their own political gains, while some of these same people are being accused of stealing millions of dollars from the State treasury while they were in office.
I stopped and I saw two top officers belonging to the PPP, which is heading the Regional Democratic Council of Region Two, holding placards. These officers are being paid by taxpayers to conduct the Government’s business and should have been in their office to meet with members of the public to hear their complaints and address them. I was later made to understand that a number of rice farmers went to meet with the officers to fix their dams so they could bring out their paddy without much difficulty.
On arriving at the office, they were allegedly told that the two officers were not in office, they were on the road leading a picketing exercise with parents. The farmers and other members of the public came from as far as Charity and Supenaam and nearby communities only to be turned away without seeing them. As far as I can remember, the vouchers were implemented in 2014, coming near to the May 11 2015 elections. Most of those persons who received this money did not buy uniforms or books for their children, some of these children do not even attend school – the money were spent on other things.
There was no monitoring of how the money was spent. As a little boy I had to help my parents in the rice field to plant and reap the rice when school was closed so my parents could get money to feed my seven brothers and two sisters and buy school clothes, books and shoes. If our school uniforms were torn, my mother would patch them and we would attend school with them; sometimes we would go to school without shoes when they were damaged.
The only thing we received in our school days was two cups of milk and biscuits from the school feeding programme, and there was nothing like brand name pants, shirts and shoes. My mother after receiving money from my father’s paddy crops would go to the shop and buy cloth to take to the village tailor who then sewed our school clothes. Without help from Government, I managed to get a higher education. I first started out school at St Agnes Anglican in Danielstown, some two miles away from home. Every morning and afternoon I would walk to school; life was no bed of roses. I later attended Rosignol Secondary School in Berbice very far from my home and later went to Berbice High School in New Amsterdam.
My parents made a lot of sacrifices to educate nine children without assistance from the Government. I also made that same sacrifice for my two sons without those vouchers and they are today educated young men pursuing Master’s Degrees overseas. So people should abstain from depending on handouts from any Government and should just make the sacrifice without allowing political parties to manipulate them. A parent’s duty is to look after and take care of their children from nursery to university.