Polder Black Bush is not an isolated case – Kaieteur News

Polder Black Bush is not an isolated case

Kaieteur News – A young woman wrote a very distressing Open Letter to the First Lady of Guyana, Mrs. Arya Ali. In that letter she detailed her frustration at the lack of opportunities for people in her community, Yakusari, Black Bush Polder (BBP). She highlighted her own challenges while attending school, delaying her dream career and finding employment.
Her story got the attention it sought. A prominent Minister in a Facebook post stated that her Ministry will find the girl.
However, the struggles of this one young woman are a sign of national malice and one that disproportionately affects not just a few individuals but tens of thousands of school leavers. This is a rural problem not an individual problem. Finding that young woman and providing a scholarship for that young woman will not solve the condition of the tens of thousands of young rural school leavers without similar opportunities.
The Office of the First Lady responded with a statement. She thanked everyone who had brought the First Lady’s attention to the young woman’s condition and noted that she and the Minister had discussed how they could bring meaningful change to BBP.
BBP is not an isolated case. How many interventions will be needed? This is a national problem that cannot be resolved through selective interventions. Every year thousands of teenagers leave school and encounter limited opportunities for further education and employment. The problem is most acute in rural areas, and generally goes unnoticed.
BBP has its own deep issues. It is one of the areas most susceptible to suicide and authorities have not found out why this is so.
A month ago, a letter writer noted that given the wealth this area generates, the communities in the Polder should have had better lighting and roads. They should also have had better opportunities for school leavers.
Instead, suffering and suicide are ruining BBP communities. Many parents cannot afford to send their children to school. Many parents cannot afford to send their children to the Tain Campus to further their education after high school. Many school leavers cannot find employment. Some people can’t afford a decent meal every day.
The news coming out of the Polder is full of problems. If it’s not flood and drainage, it’s bad roads, lack of internet, landlines and poor water supply. If it’s not murder and suicide, street lights and robberies or losing cattle. BBP is a list of tragedies.
The only escape is migration. This often involves trying to go abroad in any way possible, including arranged marriages. There is a lot of heartache in the BBP area because many young men are forced to leave their girlfriends and seek jobs outside the Region. Some of them finish in Suriname. Many never go back.
And yet, BBP is one of the best-producing agricultural areas in the country. The area produces rice and cash crops, which feed large parts of the country’s population. So why should there be this problem with a lack of opportunities?
Rice has been the backbone of BBP. But there are still feudal links within the rice growing sector in Guyana, and this includes BBP. And land ownership is deviating.
The problem with BBP is not unique to rural Guyana. It is a problem of economic inequality.
If the First Lady and the Ministry of Education intend to make interventions in that area, they should examine the economic inequalities in the Polder. They should examine who owns the land and who benefits most from government services and the extent to which those people plow their wealth back into the community.
But the problem is also one of economic policy. Since the death of Cheddi Jagan, the PPP / C has followed an economic model that promotes inequality. The dripping down effect of the neo-liberal did not throw down to BBP. The PPP / C should be asked what it did to BBP in terms of creating jobs outside of rice and sugar for BBP people.
BBP has also been left behind in education. If the Education Minister is serious about intervening to assist neglected communities, he should look at the passing rates of school leavers in rural communities. She will find that the majority of these students fail five subjects. So even if there were jobs outside of sugar and rice, how many school leavers would be eligible for those jobs without the required subjects?
And it’s not just the failure of Region Six. It has been a national failure because of the drip development model that has been followed since 1999.

(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of this newspaper.)