Schoolchildren tell Latvian government how to tackle crisis

February 19th, 2009 - 12:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Riga, Feb 19 (DPA) Latvia’s government is not short of advice, with criticism coming from such heavyweight institutions as the IMF and EU - but also from the country’s own kids.
One hundred schoolchildren were asked their political opinions by the Fazer bakery company Wednesday, and the results were not flattering for those in power.

Asked what Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis did, seven-year-old Karlis said he “makes a crisis in the country”, while the more mature Viljams, 9, described Godmanis’ responsibilities as “sometimes explaining something, yelling, and helping (president) Zatlers”.

Nine-year-old Georgs added “drinking coffee” to the prime ministerial responsibilities, whereas 10-year-old Kristiana said politicians spent their time “writing on computers and copying documents”.

As to what could be done to tackle the economic crisis, the children had a variety of ideas, ranging from “increase the value of the (national currency) lat” to “start a family” to “use public transport and don’t buy everything you see”.

After circulating on websites for some days, the responses were given an official flavour when they were republished by the Latvian Institute, a state-run body which promotes the country overseas and which itself faces possible closure as part of government cutbacks.

The childrens’ criticisms came as an International Monetary Fund team is in town to map out a $9.5 billion economic assistance package, and while EU Monetary and Economic Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia in Brussels criticised the small Baltic state for running an “excessive deficit”.

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