Remarks by
Jean Ricot Dormeus, Representative
Organization of the American States
OAS – Profuturo Education project equipment handover Cumberland, Berbice, Guyana,
January 27, 2020


Dr the Honorable Nicolette Henry, Minister of Education,
Chief Education Officer Trotman,
Ms Bagmatie LaCruz , Regional Education Officer,
Mr Selwyn Griffith, Coordinator at the Ministry of Education,
Ms Haimwattie Beeaaimal, Head Teacher of the Cumberland Primary School,
Expert Wil Campbell,
Distinguished teachers, administrative staff and students of the Cumberland Primary School,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

We gather at the Cumberland Primary School today for a sod-turning ceremony of sorts, as the OAS and Profuturo hand over digital literacy equipment. We are contributing to prepare the next generation for the future. We are flinging wide open the gate to knowledge and service. And we gain access to billions around the world from our villages, our riverain communities or remote hinterland areas. In spearheading projects such as the digital literacy, the OAS is impacting the lives of the citizens of the Americas for better democracy, security and integral development.

The digital literacy project we are rolling out in Cumberland showcases a telescope tripod of principles:

First, Education is the twin sister of freedom. Isn’t it true that we can only make the most of our freedom and achieve enduring success by educating and improving ourselves? Second, while we act locally we can transform lives thousands of miles away. Technology works as a great equalizer allowing us to transform the world from our huts, our villages or gated communities. And third, sharing is caring. Don’t we become our best selves when we love, give and forgive? The OAS partners with Profuturo to support the Government of Guyana by sharing through the use of technology best practices in education to the most challenged communities. This sharing experience stands as a vibrant model of cooperation.

Here in Cumberland, you know what I am talking about when I mention cooperation. Two weeks ago, on January 7 more precisely, good neighbors cooperated to save the lives of 4 children from a burning house, right here in Cumberland. How amazing that we preserve and enhance life when we work together!

I am very happy that Cumberland benefits from this project, because your village will be in a better position to produce great minds to Guyana and the world. Actually, this is already a tradition in your community, isn’t it? I think of the political activist and pan-africanist Eusi Kwayana and Dr Bishodat who served in the Commonwealth Secretariat, among others.

Further, technology already features in Cumberland’s landscape. Over a year ago, Minister Cathy Huges opened and ICT hub at the Office of the Neighborhood Democratic Council (NDC). This means Cumberland is better equipped to turn a sugar based economy into a knowledge based economy.

I would like to congratulate and thank the Government of Guyana, in particular Minister Nicolette Henry, for cooperating with the OAS and Profuturo on the digital literacy project. Minister Henry, on May 24, 2018, you signed with ProFuturo Foundation and The OAS the agreement to implement the digital literacy program providing access to digital education to children in vulnerable areas. Paying presence at today’s ceremony speaks volumes about your commitment to the success of this initiative.

May I mention that the ProFuturo program boasts a global reach as it operates in many countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. It benefits the Caribbean for the first time with the support of the OAS. Besides Guyana, other countries are enjoying this digital embrace, such as The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize and Saint Lucia.

With an approximate value of over 152 thousands euros, the digital literacy program will benefit more than 5,000 children in 28 primary schools across Regions 1, 6 and 10. Almost 500 Guyanese teachers will receive training in innovative pedagogical methodologies and on the use of technology to enhance the educational experience of students.

Training for teachers has commenced. The four participating schools in Region 1 are already in receipt of the equipment which includes tablets, laptops and projectors. In a matter of days, all beneficiary schools should have received the equipment that the ProFuturo Foundation donated.

As Cumberland Young Warriors Cricket Club has contributed great players to the most popular sport in Guyana, I hope this technology literacy program will produce businesspeople, professionals and civil servants that will inspire the Land of many waters and the world.

The Organization of American States is committed to supporting its Member States in their development journey. With such support and a population living in harmony with abundant resources, including the newly-found oil, how wouldn’t Guyana expect to become a shining city on a hill? The sun of prosperity is already rising on the horizon in prelude to the symphony of happiness and opportunities for all.

Thank you and God bless you.

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