Aug 31, 2021 Editorial
Kaieteur News – Dr. Vindhya Persaud, Minister of Human Services and Social Security, is one of a kind, and we hail her today. She stands out from her colleagues, including seniors. For some time now, we have observed her in action, and reported her efforts to the public. It feels good to do so, because there is substance to her actions in the representation of her ministerial portfolio.
Let’s face it: the Human Services and Social Security portfolio is not what would be called the sexiest undertaking around. Its primary focus is providing services, through a range of relief programmes, to a wide variety of citizens. To a considerable extent, they are weaker, or sicker, or poorer, or older, than their fellow citizens in this country. But they need attention and care, they need money and a helping hand for either disability or disaster, for domestic violence or dependency, for old age or the troubles that come from that state in life.
In the ordinary course of life, and its frantic demands and rush, peers don’t have time for those left behind and, many times, even friends and family lose interest and patience to stay the course and grind through the challenges. But this is what Minister Vindhya Persaud has led her team at the Human Services and Social Security Ministry to be about and to deliver on a consistent basis. We get the distinct impression that she cares, which is saying a lot for a minister, any minister from any political party, be it PPP or PNC. It is what comes across in her frequent outreaches across the length and breadth of Guyana.
Minister Persaud’s most recent travels took her to women and girls in Region Two, to further a programme to help females become financial independent, which was piloted in May at Baramita (“More women and girls sign up -As ‘Human Services’ launch WIIN in Region Two”, KN August 29). She wants to reach everyone and give everyone who comes a fair shake, a chance to grapple with this life better equipped. Women’s Innovation and Investment Network (WIIN) does just that, and already generated interest, through applications, from 4000 Guyanese women.
But that is not all from Minister Persaud. The nation’s current group of some 65,000 recipients of Old Age Pension have been promised (by the minister, who else?) that they will start collecting their pension books for next year in October. Now, that is serving the people, that is thinking ahead, and planning ahead on delivering what is needed to those who need these things the most. To quote Minister Persaud, “We have been working hard to ensure that our senior citizens are cared for.” Well said, Madam Minister, we believe.
As we consider all this, these constructive initiatives from Minister Persaud, we can’t help thinking how she has reversed roles. To state in a different way, how she leads the way and sets an example for the leaders in her government, including the President and Vice President, to imitate. She is pacesetter and performer, as well as catering to the needs of those who are major constituencies of her ministerial responsibilities in an honest and dedicated manner. This minister has a delightful freshness and clean frankness about her, from which her erring leaders can learn. There is little by way of the guiles and wiles that are practised by those higher up in the political food chain, and this is when both the PPP Government and Coalition Opposition are considered. We are sure she has weaknesses and flaws, but those have not come to light and have not interfered with the works that she and her ministry put out for the benefit of Guyanese.
How we wish that we can say the same things with the political leadership management of our massive oil wealth. Instead of openness, we have been blighted by darkness. Rather than cleanness, this country has been cursed by unending dirtiness from one leader after another, and with those in charge now standing out for unequalled ugliness. There has been crookedness and madness in oil governance. They all could learn from Minister Vindhya Persaud on how to be different. We salute her.
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