front-page-photoA Partnership for National Unity (APNU) wishes to commend the media and, in particular, the Kaieteur News for its exposure of the inhumane treatment hinterland school boys and girls are exposed to.

APNU strongly condemns this form of abuse of Primary school children in hinterland regions and urge the Government to change course and stop their denial of the poor state of hinterland regions, particularly, relating to the social conditions, infrastructure and economy.

This graphic illustration of the plight of hinterland school children exposes a wider problem which is the dysfunctional nature of this Government which has its priorities all wrong and is hell bent on central control when they should be meaningfully engaging duly-elected Regional Democratic Councils (RDCs) and, in keeping with constitutional provisions, empowering them. Sadly, however, the opposite is happening and the Government has deliberately set about to handicap and undermine the work and proper functioning of RDCs, thereby making them ineffective in delivering on their duties and responsibilities to residents who voted for them. This phenomenon is pronounced in Opposition dominated regions.

Public exposure of this particular indignity has also brought to the fore the total lack of coordination and cooperation among and between various Government Institutions, Ministries, etc. No one seems to know whose responsibilities it is to see that our children, in this case primarily Amerindian, are not being abused. Should it be an issue for the Rights of The Child Commission, Ministry of Human Services, Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development or the Ministry of Education?

As is the wont of this administration and it ministers, when faced with clear cases of incompetence, mal-administration, inefficiency, corruption, etc, their automatic response is usually a combination of denial and of shifting the blame. Minister Priya Manickchand did not disappoint, her first response was to declare the incident to be “isolated” but shockingly went on to chide the councillor (Naeem Gafoor), accusing him of having “malicious and political intention” and that he “should be spanked” (by himself). The echo had hardly disappeared after the Minister spoke when in the very day that her response was reported in (SN, June 6th, 2013) a letter appeared under the name of Andricko Basir highlighting the chaos and disorder at the Charity School dormitory and calling on the Government to pay special attention to this situation.

APNU calls yet again for Government to pay urgent attention to the poor conditions of hinterland communities and to immediately cease this practice of marginalizing RDCs. This practice results in a whole host of problems in areas such as health, education, roads, bridges, water supply, sanitation, etc. In this instance, our children are being robbed of their childhood and the chance of a proper education and the Government should be ashamed.

Hinterland residents do not need the propaganda to which they are being relentlessly subjected to; they need the development of their communities to which they, like all other Guyanese, are entitled.

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