(Georgetown, May 8, 2017) – Youths of the St. Ignatius Secondary, Annai Secondary and the Bina Hill Institute are now fully aware of the offer GS of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports Departments following interactions with the Permanent Secretary, Melissa Tucker; Director of Sport, Christopher Jones; Director of Youth, Melissa Carmichael; Assistant Director of Youth, Leslyn Boyce; Project Officer, Germaine Watson and ADOS, Brian Smith.
The overall intent of the engagements was to get suggestions from the students their needs with regard to youth empowerment and Sports development.
PS Tucker in her remarks in Lethem noted that the presence of young managers within the Ministry reflects the President’s vision of intensified youth development throughout Guyana. The PS also emphasized that these interactions add value to the decision making process and will give guidance to the preparation of the 2018 budget.
In terms of sports development in the Rupununi, the Sports Director noted that the National Sports Commission in recognition of the fact that the region is within close proximity to Brazil where football is the main sport, the Commission is assessing the possibility of constructing an all-purpose facility that can accommodate footballers from the coastal regions, the Rupununi and neighboring Brazil for competitions.
Jones indicated that this development is still at the consulting phase as the appropriate site has to be identified; however, it has to be made as soon as possible.
The Sports Director informed the students that the NSC has set aside funding for female teams as a way of encouraging female participation in sports; however, no such team has approached the Commission. In this regard, he urged that female football teams be established.
While at the Bina Hill Institute, the need was raised for technical support in volleyball and cricket. Jones committed to sending a coach from the NSC to give the assistance required. He also highlighted that the NSC had advertised a vacancy for coaches and Sports organisers for all the regions. He explained that the applications for the Region 9 applicants were sent to Public Service Commission.
Jones highlighted, at all the locations, that the existence of sports organisers and coaches in the region will see the development of many other sports disciplines aside from football.
In Lethem, there are several community grounds outfitted with pavilions, floodlights, washrooms, play area for young children and are fully fenced. Those facilities were developed by the Municipality. While describing those facilities with pride, Jones highlighted that it is a good model for other Municipalities to follow.
Turning to youth development, the Director of Youth, along with the Assistant Director of Youth and the Project Officer was able to establish school clubs at the Annai and St. Ignatius Secondary Schools. The club leaders were given the necessary resources to start the groups. They were also given a number of sports gears which included gears for cricket, football, volleyball, chess, badminton, tennis and board games.
Among the concerns raised by the students and residents were the need for musical instruments, dance instruction and the need for a technical institute in Region 9. The latter was in relation to a need for the young men to be gainfully occupied while at the same time learn a trade that will help them to receive employment.
In response to that need, Ms. Boyce highlighted the training opportunities of the Youth Entrepreneurial Skills Training (YEST) programme. The youths were encouraged to apply to attend the Kuru Kuru Training Centre (KKTC) which has been accommodating students from all the hinterland regions. The entrance test will be on July 24 to 27 in Region 9.
Ms. Boyce emphasized that first preference is given to youths from the hinterland regions.
With regard to the other youth related programs, Ms. Carmichael informed the students about the National Youth Policy and the soon to be launched Youth Innovation Project of Guyana. The Director also informed the young people about the plans to observe National Youth Week under the theme “Inspiring our youth, celebrating their achievement.”
The interactions with the youths in Region 9 will be followed by similar activities in other regions. The aim is to ensure youth involvement in the decision making process.