Guyana Resource Center
Set like a gem in the crown of South America, nestled on the North-Eastern shoulder, defying the raging Atlantic Ocean, Guyana's many waterways reflect the source of it's name "The Land of Many Waters"
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Sunday, November 27, 2005
Abrelle Poole

Abrelle Poole began to plot an exceptionally high learning curve very early in life, and so to her, and us too, it’s no surprise she chalked up the title of second best graduating student this year for the University of Guyana.

She was born in Guyana to Guyanese parents and three months after her birth, the family moved to Maryland, United States of America.

At kindergarten level, her intellectual potential was magnetised by the Talented and Gifted Programme in USA. She was pushed ahead and launched into fast learning gear, was allowed to bypass kindergarten and was shuttled into second and third grades simultaneously.

After spending her first eight years in the USA, Abrelle’s family returned to Guyana. She was integrated into the local schooling system, at Stella Maris Primary. Within one year she grasped enough about Guyana to excel at the Secondary Schools Entrance Examination (SSEE) and earn a place at Queen’s College.

Like Jill, she thinks that all work and no play would make her a dull girl. She maintained balance in her academic career with routine involvement in sports. Her lustre gleamed brighter at the University of Guyana (UG). At age 22, Abrelle graduated as salutatorian at the 2005 convocation of UG earlier this month and copped the Chancellor’s Medal.

When she entered university, she sidelined professional sport in order to concentrate on her studies, but still factored leisure play into her schedule.

Throughout life Abrelle has been actively involved in a variety of sporting activities – Table Tennis, Basketball, Volleyball, Badminton, Soccer. She was introduced to sports early in the USA through her school’s Physical Education programme and learnt the fundamentals of various sports. Table Tennis and Basketball are, perhaps, her favourites. She took up these two at professional level, representing Guyana in Caribbean championships.

As an athlete, Abrelle challenges her body. In competitive drive, she is in constant motion; bobbing and weaving, slamming the tennis ball, dribbling the basketball, driving up the court, aiming for the basket, going for the kill. She understands how the body’s limitations can snag its remarkable capabilities and the inevitable need for therapy in maintaining litheness and dexterity.

Her interest in Physiotherapy led her into the study of Biology.

She told Sunday Chronicle last week that the absence of a Physiotherapy curriculum at UG influenced her choice of the next appropriate subject to fulfill her scientific curiosity – Biology.

Biology is an intriguing subject, she said. By definition it is the study of living things. However, the syllabus also examines the inorganic and Abrelle concludes that knowledge of the subject does not necessarily provide answers to life’s questions but gives insight to reaching conclusions.

About her outstanding performance she said, “For me it is not a big deal. I always try to work hard. I didn’t have to apply myself much. I just saw it as a phase that I had to go through in life.”

Abrelle said that effective time management was her strategy for handling the workload. Besides she was a fulltime student, who got tremendous emotional support from her family.

“I ensured that I was early for classes and that I attended all my classes. I studied late into the night in the library days before my exams,” she added.

At present, Abrelle is an Environmental Officer with Omai Gold Mines Limited, inspecting and monitoring environmental aspects of the company’s operations and ensuring that ISO standards are followed. Her job appeals to her love of challenge and adventure. She works mainly in Konawaruk River in the Potaro region of Guyana and experiences parts of the country and animals that she studied.

She is still to determine the focus of her career, saying, “It’s pretty much an open field.” And will also later decide whether she will live and work in Guyana or the USA.

Meanwhile, Abrelle is assisting current Biology students at UG and is becoming enraptured with the idea of teaching the topic, since she embraces the philosophy that sharing knowledge is the best way of helping others.

“Guyana has some brilliant minds that just need to be channeled,” Abrelle said.

Thus, she is appealing to local industries to continuously create jobs for university graduates. The availability of jobs, she believes, will motivate students to excel academically and encourage mutual advancement for companies and working professionals.

“We can’t complain if people go looking elsewhere for jobs that they cannot find here. Could you imagine people graduating with distinction and cannot get a job. In other parts of the world, companies are waiting to pick students up as soon as they graduate, especially when they are doing well. You have a job waiting for you,” she said.

Abrelle speculated that a cure for HIV lies in the wealth of Guyana’s natural resources. But the world will never know unless the scope is created for scientists to investigate these recourses.

She concludes that Guyana needs to focus, at this time, on the development of industries and human resource, and to fully exploit our natural resources.

(Guyana Chronicle)
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
A Story We Should All Read...
Runaway girl in BV police lock-ups past three weeks

A girl just shy of her fifteenth birthday has been languishing in the Beterverwagting (BV) police lock-ups for the past three weeks after she was picked up for running away from her aunt's home in Plaisance, East Coast Demerara.

According to Yernesi Yansen, one of the girl's former teachers at the Plaisance Community High School, the child has been at the lock-ups and no one has been taking food or a change of clothing for her.

It is expected that the child will appear in the Sparendaam Magistrate's Court on Friday when her aunt will seek to have her sent to the New Opportunity Corps (NOC) on the Essequibo Coast.

It is because of this development that the concerned teacher brought the child's plight to the attention of Stabroek News, stating that for a number of months she has been attempting to save the child from this fate.

Yansen said that it was September 5 of 2002 when she first met the child when she started to attend the Plaisance Community High School. She said soon after, the child's attendance became irregular and she had to speak to the aunt on several occasions. The headmistress also intervened.

The teacher said she begged the aunt to continue to send the child to school since she was doing well in her studies. But the irregular attendance continued until May 25, 2004 when she stopped until another intervention saw the child returning to school on June 14.

However, two weeks after, the aunt indicated that she had returned the child to her parents' home on the Linden/Soesdyke Highway.

According to the teacher many days the child attended school with no lunch or money to purchase something to eat yet she remained at school.

"One time her shoes became loose and she cried a fountain because she was afraid of the beatings she would receive from her aunt and we bought Evo-stick and pasted the shoes up. Another time she missed so many classes I told her to borrow some of her friends' books and take them home to copy the notes but the next day she returned and said her aunt soaked the books in a bucket of water. Those were the things that child suffered at the hands of her aunt," the teacher said.

She related that several weeks after the aunt had said she returned the child to her parents she received a letter from the child sent to her through another teacher. She said an aunt of the teacher lived next door to the child's aunt and when the teacher visited her aunt the child took the opportunity to send the letter.

In the letter, a photocopy of which was shown to this newspaper by the teacher, the child stated that she was still at the aunt who did not want to send her to school and was telling her to knit.

"I know people say knitting is good but it is not better than school and I want to come back to school miss, please help, please take me away and find a new home for me. I know I did some bad things in the past but I am sorry… My sister is at NOC and I don't want the same to happen to me, please help," the child pleaded.

Touched by the child's letter and not knowing how to assist the teacher said she visited the Probation & Welfare Department of the Ministry of Human Services and she took the original of the letter and handed it over to an officer whose name she gave to this newspaper. In her quest to help the child the teacher said she also visited the welfare department at Triumph, East Coast Demerara and brought the child's plight to the attention of the officers there.

She said several follow-up visits and calls to both offices only resulted in promises being made to help the child.

Recently the child ran away from the aunt's home. The aunt had the police pick her up and said she wanted the girl to be sent to the NOC.

"I don't want this child to go to the NOC - what help can she get there? I am going to go to court to speak up on behalf of this child, she is very good at her school work and she just needs some help," the teacher told Stabroek News.

When Stabroek News contacted the Permanent Secretary of the Minister of Labour, Human Services & Social Security, Trevor Thomas, he said it was the first time he was hearing of the issue and he would have it investigated.

He also stated that the magistrate would not send the child to the NOC without asking for a probation report.

This newspaper contacted the welfare department of the ministry and learnt that there was indeed an officer by the name given by the teacher working at the ministry. An officer there indicated to this newspaper on a follow-up call that there is a record about the child at the ministry. A call to Triumph revealed that the officer-in-charge knew nothing about the case.

However, the officer promised to visit the child at the police lock-ups and to attend court on Friday.

(Stabroek News)