Minister of Agriculture Dr Leslie Ramsammy speaking at a youth consultation at Caribbean Week of Agriculture
By Kenton X. Chance
GEORGETOWN, Guyana -- Five Vincentians were expected to arrive in Guyana on 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 enroll 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 St Vincent and the Grenadines, 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 fertiliser 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.