Remarks by
Jean Ricot Dormeus, Representative
Organization of the American States

OAS – Profuturo Education project equipment handover

Mackenzie, Linden, Guyana, January 28, 2020

Ms Carol Benn, Assistant Education Officer,
Mr Robindra Singh , Regional Education Officer,
Ms Camille Cummings , Head Teacher of the Mackenzie Primary School,
Mr Selwyn Griffith, Coordinator at the Ministry of Education,
Expert Wil Campbell,
Distinguished teachers, administrative staff and students of the Mackenzie Primary School,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am delighted that the Organization of American States and ProFuturo stoke in Linden a new wave of opportunities for knowledge, innovation and service. The OAS is handing over digital literacy equipment in a drive to open access to cutting edge technology to remote areas and vulnerable segments of the population. We are helping school children to build their future by opening the floodgate to knowledge and service. I mean knowledge from everywhere around the globe and opportunity to reach billions while acting locally. Thus the Americas can expect to experience stronger democracy, higher level of multidimensional security and an advanced stage in integral development.

The OAS partners with Profuturo on this initiative on the grounds that sharing and collaboration create mutual understanding, bonding and exponential results. Sharing and cooperation for better education stand as a potent strategy to grow the seeds of success in the minds of the next generation.

It is fitting that many headteachers in Region 10 gather today in Mackenzie for this auspicious event. Why? Because Mackenzie illustrates that humble beginnings can lead to amazing results. George Bain Mackenzie started a bauxite operation here over a century ago, using rudimentary methods and animal traction. Over the years the bauxite industry has modernized and has continued to sustain the livelihood of millions around the world.

This observation means that the digital literacy program that the OAS and Profuturo are spearheading is expected to become a game changer in Linden, Region 10 and indeed the entire country. We can expect to see a natural resource based economy turn into a knowledge based economy. Not only that, but also we expect that down the road this program will provide Guyana with world renowned scientists, talented businesspeople and exemplary civil servants.

This expectation stands to reason because Linden is already the place of great athletes, culture shapers and musicians, including Jimmy Hamilton and Basil Butcher who gave Mashramani to Guyana, as well as Pastor Richard McDonald one of my favorite Guyanese saxophonists.

Let me 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, signed with the OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro and a ProFuturo Foundation Representative the agreement to implement the digital literacy program providing access to digital education to children in vulnerable areas.

The ProFuturo program boasts a global reach as it operates in many countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Guyana is the first Caribbean country that has benefited from the initiative 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.

Through practical programs in the fields of education, governance, security and development, the Organization of American States has touched the lives of the citizens of the Americas and has brought them the benefits of best practices, cooperation and unity. I trust that the beneficiary schools and indeed Guyana as a whole will make the most of this program, including turning it into a sustainable initiative that transforms the cultural and economic landscape. Can you do it? Of course, you can.

Thank you and God bless you.

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