122 scholarship graduates join Public Service
“Don’t allow anyone to think for you” – President Jagdeo
(By Mondale Smith)
“You have a vested interest in whichever sector you are, to ensure that progress in this country continues, particularly in the area of the economy to finance other areas.”
This was among President Bharrat Jagdeo’s charges as he addressed 122 Professionals who graduated after successfully completing the Government scholarship and training programmes for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees overseas.
At the Postgraduate level, there were 10 Masters’ Degrees. At the under graduate level 112 degrees were obtained in fields of Human Medicine, Chemistry, Agriculture, Agronomy, Veterinary Medicine, Culture, Architecture and Sports.
There were also undergraduates in the engineering field including Computer, Civil, Telecommunications, Electrical, Automation, Mechanical, Industrial and Forestry Engineering.
They were all presented at the National Cultural Centre after seven years of pursuing higher education in Cuba, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom, China, Canada, Brunei and India.
The consensus among the young professionals, some of whom are now fluent in Spanish, is that the higher education experience was challenging, but worth the sacrifices. They are optimistic that the experience will be rewarding.
Though inspirational, with many expressed expectations from Government and other officials, the atmosphere was celebratory as relatives; friends and well wishers witnessed the graduation.
The architect of the special Cuban Scholarship programme which started in 2002, President Bharrat Jagdeo, told the graduates, “The only way that we can realise the true potential of this land is if we all together put our shoulders to the wheel regardless of superficial differences…. no one is better than the other.”
“Don’t become mentally lazy, don’t allow anyone to think for you, and don’t be led astray by some commentator or tabloid gossip in the newspapers; ask key questions and don’t become too narrow minded the president advised.”
He reminded them that there is a whole world of knowledge out there and that they should learn about economics and other things that will ensure a more fulfilling life.
The Head of State also advised the graduates not to “fall into ethnic and religious cliques …You are Guyanese and the Guyanese clique is important.”
He expressed optimism and said he sees them as national change agents who all have a part to play in national and economical development.
He said, “Some of us are moving on to other things” but reminded them of their future ahead.” Above all, he advised them to cultivate the attitude of respect for all persons regardless.
“We have to ensure that ten years from now our country is significantly better… You are Guyanese… let the bonds you have developed as friends during your course of studies serve as an example to all of our people.”
The president said that at present there are about eight new hospitals that were built from the budget as opposed to borrowed funds like in the past.
President Jagdeo noted that even as medicine is becoming a big challenge, Government is hoping to work with the private sector to provide affordable tertiary care with a main focus on primary health care.
In this regard the President said when all the 600 doctors come back to Guyana from studies they will be hired in the public sector even if it means cutting something else with an aim to take medicine to the point of personalised care in villages, wards and in the city.
However the important consideration is quality and value for money he said and advised the graduates to be interested in the big picture of reforms aggressively participating as an expectation.
Other speakers were Pedro Arteaga Cardenas, Charge D’Affairs, Cuban Embassy; Fernando Sandoval, Mexican Ambassador; and Dr. Jennifer Westford, Minister, Public Service Ministry.