A review of three books by David Granger ─ Children are the future: A bright future for young Guyanese; Women in Guyana: Working towards achieving women’s equality; and Young Guyana: A decade for youth development
President David Granger’s collection of books on his government’s social policies is a useful extension of previously published material on education, the environment, social cohesion and national unity.
The President, in this collection – the texts of important addresses he made on children, women and youth – lays down principles which guide his Government’s policy prescriptions in the most important sections of the population. These, not infrequently, have been seen as vulnerable and, as areas of assumed administrative inattention, to warrant greater consideration.
Children are the future: A bright future for young Guyanese, the first book in the collection, focusses on children. It emphasises the two principles that every child is entitled to a happy childhood and that the best place for nurturing a child is in the home. It places strong emphasis on the protection of the child and details an impressive list of laws, policies, programmes and institutions which Guyana has put in place to protect its children.
Children are the most vulnerable segment of society. Few will dispute that they need to be protected or that that it is everyone’s responsibility to do so. The State can pass laws to protect children. It can impose sanctions on those who abuse children. It can establish institutions to care and provide childcare.
The State, however, cannot legislate care and compassion in households which the President views as being desirable for nurturing children. It is expected that the President will address in the future this grey area between the limits of policy-making and achieving its desired ends.
Women in Guyana: Working towards achieving women’s equality, the second book of the collection, is about the unfinished business of women’s equality. President Granger points out that, despite measurable improvements, the ambitious objectives set out in the landmark State Paper on Equality of Women of 1976, have not been achieved. He then sets about to place women’s equality high among his government’s social priorities.
The extant global agenda on women is dominated by demands for greater sexual and reproductive rights. The President, however, returns to the foundational theme of bridging the economic, political and social achievement gaps between women and men, while emphasizing the need to address poverty, unemployment and spousal abuse all of which place a disproportionate burden on women.
Young Guyana: A decade for youth development, is the third book in the collection. David Granger, as Opposition Leader prior to 2015, had published a book entitled Young people… the forgotten majority in which he addressed the failure of youth policy up to that time.He bemoaned the failure of the government of-the-day to announce a plan plan to deal with the challenges facing young people in this country.
President Granger identifies youth development central to his current government’s social agenda. Those who find a thrill in propagating the view that the President’s government has neglected young people will be deflated by this publication. It presents the President’s vision of youth development and enumerates the numerous initiatives which his government has been undertaking over the past five years to promote youth development.
Education and skills-training are integral to his vision. The President makes it clear that young people will become the motors of change and progress. They will need to be provided with the knowledge, skills and values necessary to participate in a transformative economy and progressive society. He assures young people not only of a better future but also provides incontrovertible evidence of what he has achieved and continues to do to realize this objective.
President Granger’s social policies – on children, women and youth as outlined in this three-book collection – are all founded on international best practices. The President makes reference to international conventions, declarations and reports, as well as the Constitution of his country, to illustrate how his social policies on children, women and youth are consistent with these documents.
This latest collection, which can be appropriately titled, ‘The President and children, gender and youth,” constitutes his country’s clearest policy statement ever on three of the groups in society – children, women and youth – must vulnerable to alienation, discrimination and inattention. The President’s approach is enlightening; his vision inspiring and his writing crisp and intelligible.
The President on children, women and youth adds to the list of impressive social policies enunciated by the Guyanese Head of State and Government. The implementation of these social policies will propel the Guyana’s human development into a better place.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s)and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper)
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