600 COVID-19 relief hampers distributed in Region 8 

residents welcome swift action by new PPP/C Gov’t 

distribution exercise to be taken to Annai and Lethem, on Tuesday

DPI, Guyana, Monday, August 10, 2020

Six hundred (600) households in communities in the North Pakaraima, Region 8, will benefit from food hampers as part of the PPP/C Government’s effort to provide relief to hinterland communities affected by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The items were officially handed over to the Village Councils today, by Ministers of Amerindian Affairs, Hon. Pauline Sukhai, and Local Government and Regional Development, Hon. Nigel Dharamlall, along with Director-General of the Civil Defence Commission (CDC), Lieutenant-Colonel, Kester Craig, and his Deputy, Major Loring Benons.

The village of Kurukubaru was the first stop, where 300 hampers delivered to be shared between that village (150), Itabac (75) and Kanapang (75). The team then travelled across to Paramakatoi where another 300 hampers were delivered with that community receiving 150, and Tuseneng and Bamboo Creek, 75 each.

In brief remarks, Minister Sukhai explained that the activity is a collaborative effort between the two Ministries and the CDC and aims to ensure that every household benefits from food supplies.

“We want to ensure that the supplies are transported at the earliest possible time to the communities, and that the distribution is completed and every family receives so that they do not have trek across the border. If we can contain them to their village and lower the risk of COVID being transmitted by the movements over the border, that is what we are looking for.” 

Minister Dharamlall said that the activity was a directive from the President, His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, who met with his Cabinet Ministers, on Friday last, and instructed the Prime Minister, Hon. Brigadier (retd), Mark Phillips to work with the CDC to provide aid to those residents, especially in the border villages Tuseneng and Bamboo Creek.

He especially commended Paramakatoi, the largest populated village in the North Pakaraima with over 3,000 residents, for implementing strict measures to monitor the virus.

This community has not recorded a single case of the virus, even as neighbouring Brazil has been declared the second most infected country in the world.

“We have to make sure that our lifestyle is protected, we have to make sure that movement is people is regulated…I hope that you use this time to build better relations in your village, live good and when you go to your farms ensure you practice social distancing and use your mask,” he urged the village council.

The Minister committed to working with the Ministry of Health to ensure that the medical facilities in those areas are equipped with medical supplied to fight COVID and other medical illness. Mask, sanitizers and an infrared thermometer will also be made available to the villages.

Residents happy!  

Toshao of Kurukubaru, Voila Melville, was especially appreciative for this initiative since her community has not only been affected by the COVID-19 but also floods because of the rainy season.

Toshao Melville explained that currently, farms in the satellite areas have been washed away and families need assistance. She said these families will be targeted first during the distribution of the supplies, and 150 of the 211 of the households in her village will benefit from the hampers.

“We are thankful for the aid that we have received and the people who are affected by COVID-19 will benefit,” said Gideon John, Toshao of Paramakatoi. John said he looks forward to working with the administration to fight the pandemic.

Region 8 has, thus far, reported nine positive cases of COVID-19 – six from Kanapang, two from Itabac and one from 1 Mahdia Township. The persons in Itabac and Mahdia have since recovered.

A similar distribution exercise will be conducted in Annai and Lethem, Region 9 on Tuesday.

Image: Marceano Narine