$820M to train, empower Amerindian youth – Min. Sukhai

Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Hon. Pauline Sukhai says some $820 million will be invested in Amerindian youths this year through the Community Support Officers (CSOs) programme.

Minister Sukhai told the National Assembly on Friday that the funds would be utilised to build the youth capacity and empower them to make meaningful contributions to society. 

“That is what you call interest in youths; that is what you call delivering on our commitment to young people,” Minister Sukhai said. 

Minister of Amerindian Affairs Hon. Pauline Sukhai

The Minister reminded the House that the CSO programme was conceptualised by the PPP/C Administration in 2013 and subsequently launched in 2014. 

The programme’s training component, she said, did not materialise since it was disbanded by the former APNU+AFC administration in 2015 and replaced with the Hinterland Employment and Youth Service (HEYS) initiative. 

Minister Sukhai said she is yet to locate the thousands of businesses that the former government claims were created under the HEYS programme. 

“They claim that we have not renewed the HEYS programme, but there is correspondence from the then minister writing to the Minister of Finance stating that in 2019, there was no more money to address the HEYS programme and he has to disconnect all the staff in the region and the entire programme and that he was going to keep four staff to ensure they tie up the documentation for that programme,” Minister Sukhai said.

The CSO programme was reinstated when the Government took office in August last year, and 46 youths were trained in Information and Communication Technology in Georgetown. 

While only 46 communities were targeted last year, the remaining 200-plus hinterland villages will benefit this year.

The CSO engagement is part of the PPP/C Government’s commitment to youth development and advancement, and investment in the Amerindian Peoples’ lives.

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