$96M for sustainable projects in 11 villages in Matarkai sub-district

Eleven communities in the Matarkai sub-district, Region One, are the latest beneficiaries of cheques totalling $96 million, which were distributed under the Government’s one-off COVID-19 relief grant. The objective of the grant is to boost the socioeconomic status of the hinterland communities through the creation of sustainable village projects.

Minister of Housing and Water, Hon. Collin Croal tells Region One toshaos and chairpersons of Community Development Councils that the grant would help to resuscitate village economies

On Monday, Minister of Housing and Water, Hon. Collin Croal handed over the cheques to the toshaos and chairpersons of Community Development Councils of Tassawini, Canal Bank, Anabisi, Oronoque, Sebai, Minab, Citrus Grove, Arakaka, Baramita, Four Miles and Eclipse Falls.

Speaking at the Port Kaituma Secondary School, Minister Croal said the initiative is intended to provide additional support as persons are still grappling with the effects of Covid.  These projects, he said, would not only strengthen village economies, but also create jobs.

“Guidance that would have been provided is to ensure, one, because of the need for connectivity, for a small resource of your grant is asked to be made available for those of you who don’t have your [ICT] hubs, to put something for the construction of your hubs.

Minister of Housing and Water, Hon. Collin Croal hands over one of the cheques to s representative of one of 11 hinterland communities that benefited

“Then the expectation that the remainder goes towards infrastructure development and more importantly, economic projects,” Minister Croal said.

Some of the projects the communities would be embarking on include logging, agricultural production, village infrastructure, tourism, manufacturing, village business enterprise and transportation.

“These are community economic projects, projects that are sustainable and those that can derive a continuous flow of income generation so that it can have a multiplying effect and at the end of the day it is the community that will benefit,” Minister Croal said.

He charged the village leaders to ensure the residents are consulted on these projects.

Barima-Waini (Region One) Regional Chairman, Mr. Brentnol Ashley delivers his address during the exercise

Meanwhile, Regional Chairman, Mr. Brentnol Ashley said the initiative seeks to resuscitate the local village economies that were affected as a result of the pandemic. He singled out Tassawini, Anabisi and Minab, which were neglected over the past five years.  These particular areas, Mr. Ashley said, would not be left out of the PPP/C Government’s national development agenda.  

He urged the village leaders to ensure all of the residents benefit from the projects and ensure proper management and accountability of village assets. The villages have five months to submit their respective project proposals to the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs for approval before executing the project.

A section of the meeting

Regional Vice-Chairman, Ms. Annansha Peters, Regional Executive Officer, Mr. Tikaram Bissessar, Chairman of the Matarkai Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC), Mr. Orlando Thorne, and Management Development Officer (MDO) of the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs, Mr. John Ramsingh also attended the distribution exercise.  

A total of $1.73 billion in COVID-19 relief funds would be distributed to the hinterland and Amerindian villages and communities. Of that amount, $542 million will be shared between 77 villages in Barima-Waini.  On Friday, Minister Croal and a team handed over $225 million in grants to 27 communities in the Moruca sub-district. The team will be travelling to Mabaruma on Tuesday to distribute grants to 38 communities.