Picketing exercises were staged yesterday by supporters of the opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), expressing displeasure about the decision by Government to stop the ‘Because We Care’ cash grant for the time being, in order to facilitate a comprehensive review of the initiative.
The Brickdam, Georgetown Ministry of Education and the Departments of Education in Regions Two and Three were among the venues for the demonstrations. The protestors were however few in number at the three locations. In the city, the placards revealed that the protestors were against a move by Government to stop the $10,000 ‘Because We Care’ cash grant initiative for public school children.
The first picketer this publication sought to solicit a comment from yesterday was Mark Adrian, who said that he resides at Yarrowkabra, Soesdyke/Linden Highway.
“Me just come with dem man, me ain’t know nothing…me just come fuh de walk; me ain’t come to protest,” said Adrian, although he stood on the picket line displaying a placard clearly stating “children need more, ministers should get less.”
Gwendolyn John, also of Yarrowkabra, said that she was unable to explain why she was picketing. Drakes John, however, said that he heard rumours about Government stopping the cash grant and so he decided to join the picketing exercise. He said that he has two children attending public schools and told this publication that transportation was provided for him to travel from his Yarrowkabra home to Georgetown yesterday, at no cost to him, to join the picket.
“I don’t know who send a bus, I didn’t find out all of that, but I jump in the bus and come down… and whenever they send the bus I will come down, because I am interested in this ($10,000) grant,” John stated.
A very vocal Tasleem Drepaul, on the other hand, said that he was there to protest because “we care, PPP care, and we want that $10,000 that would help our children.”
The man who hails from Kuru Kuru, also on the Highway, said that the $10,000 was a grant that was made available by the PPP/C while in Government for “all children going to secondary school and primary school and things like that.”
Drepaul claimed that he was the mastermind behind the protest action outside the Education Ministry, even as he pointed out that “in general it was a plan that I had to come out here…I am like an activist in terms of looking at the interest of people and I stand firm behind the people…especially the vulnerable people.”
He stressed that many children are unable to attend school because their parents can’t afford to buy some of the basic things such as uniforms for them. He revealed that there are plans for continued protests at various locations across the country to highlight people’s disappointment with Government’s decision to stop the cash grant.
Aside from would-be Members of Parliament, Charles Ramson Junior and Gillian Burton, the other picketers declined to comment.
Among the slogan on the placards were: ‘Give us our due! Reinstate the $10,000 cash grant’; ‘Rupert stop the extravagance! Give us the $10,000’; ‘the PPP Cares! They gave $10,000. APNU-AFC show us that you care too, give us more’; ‘plenty for the Ministers nothing for the children. Shame on APNU-AFC’; ‘plenty ministers equal plenty salary equal no money for children’.
Meanwhile, a number of parents and Region Two officials also staged protest action in front of that district’s Department of Education.
Some of those protestors’ placards read, “Unite parents, uniforms for student”, “meals for students, Is this the change?,” 100 day plan, APNU keep your promise, “Minister of Education is a sell out,” Is this the change to send mothers on the street?,” “we want our $10,000 nothing more nothing less”.
The protest was reportedly organized by concerned parents and joined by Region Two Regional Democratic Councillors, Devanand Ramdatt, Juliet Coonjah and Arnold Adams.
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