GEORGETOWN, Guyana — Five Vincentians are expected to arrive here today (Wednesday) to begin studies in agriculture-related disciplines while a similar number of Guyanese will soon begin studying in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
“We must bring our young people together, not to talk, we must sink them in the fields and let them spend time with each other,” Guyana’s Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy told a youth consultation at Caribbean Week of Agriculture here on Tuesday.
The students will enrol at Guyana School of Agriculture.
The education exchange was first announced by Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, who, in early September, said his government will fund the education of five Guyanese students at the country’s community college.
“And they will be treated in Guyana as if they are from Guyana, there will be no difference,” Ramsammy said.
“The Guyana government is going to take care of their tuition and accommodation in Guyana. And I want you to make them feel at home in Guyana,” he further told participants in the youth forum, adding that five Barbadians are also expected to arrive under similar arrangements.
“The government of Barbados is presently recruiting those students,” Ramsammy said, adding that Georgetown will invite students from other countries under the initiative.
“It is Guyana’s way of promoting the partnership between our countries to improve human resources for agriculture and to improve agriculture.
“If our people are learning together and practicing together, we might be finally able to make the common economy work in the Caribbean. That’s the way to make it happen, not to sign agreements alone, but to create opportunities for our people to interact together. Guyana has, in concrete ways, begun to do so,” he said.
Ramsammy also said that over the next few days ministers of agriculture from SVG, St. Kitts, Dominica and Guyana will talk about programmes that can be implemented to procure agricultural inputs and reduce cost.
“And the first thing we are starting with is fertiliser, because in some countries they are buying fertilizer at a cost of US$1,200 per tonne when we can in fact buy it for about $300 per tonne and reduce one cost by 75 per cent,” he said.
I sincerely appreciate the efforts of our caribbean leaders to initiate a program which will enhance our food security by ensuring that our youths are given the appropriate tool to move our food production process forward. However, i am still of the opinion that more needs to be done by our leaders regarding Agriculture science at all level of our education ladder
SVG does not have a University or even a technical school which is accredited region wide. How is this going to happen?
I hope this works to bring us together. But my hope is small. Perhaps I’m just too cynical, after years of watching my Caribbean region, but my experience of my people is not such as would encourage great hope. I went to UWI (UCWI) when there was one campus at Mona. We all, from Guyana to Belize, studied together for at least three years, some for longer, and it doesn’t seem to have made us any more integrated. I graduated in 1961 – 52 years ago – and we still bicker about “foreigners” meaning fellow Caribbean people; and we can’t even manage freedom of movement – not even the little 6 months stay we grudgingly allow, witness the recent case of Barbados and the Jamaican visitor. So what effect 5 Vincentians going to Guyana and 5 Guyanese coming to St Vincent will have, even if it is done on an annual basis, I so not know.
The problem is if these students come back to SVG and cannot implement the knowledge they gained in Guyana. What is in place for them to pass on the knowledge to farmers and other school children?
I worry about this governments track record on agriculture.
It’s a good start and this should not be the end of the process.
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