Amerindian, hinterland communities to benefit fully from country’s resources

Amerindians will see their lives being improved as the government has allocated $4.7 billion towards their development and millions more in the health, education, infrastructure and social services sectors.

This assurance was given by Amerindian Affairs Minister Pauline Sukhai during day three of the budget debates at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, Wednesday.

Amerindian Affairs Minister, Pauline Sukhai during day three of the budget debates at the ACCC

Minister Sukhai told the National Assembly that the government has a vested interest in ensuring that hinterland and Amerindian communities benefit from all resources and programmes that will improve their lives.

Among the many initiatives in the 2023 budget is $500 million that will go towards advancing land titling in Amerindian communities.

This will ensure Amerindian communities have absolute ownership of their lands. 

In 2022, the Amerindian Affairs Ministry delivered seven village extensions and five Certificates of Title to Amerindian communities.

“The Ministry of Amerindian Affairs will be pursuing 19 demarcations and 11 land extensions, far more than the zero which the APNU+AFC delivered to the Amerindians,” minister Sukhai pointed out.

An additional $500 million is earmarked to continue construction and equipping of ICT hubs in the various Amerindian communities in 2023.

Also, $205 million has been allocated for women, culture and preservation of Amerindian languages.

To support Amerindian leaders, a sum of $147 million has been earmarked for the completion of the National Toshaos’ Council (NTC) Secretariat and to also furnish the facility.

Minister Sukhai highlighted that the $781.9 billion budget will not only benefit hinterland and Amerindian communities, but all Guyanese.

“This budget will meet the immediate needs of our nation while securing the future of the Guyanese people. It cements the gaps to realising a ‘One Guyana,” the minister stated.

During her speech, the minister also reminded of the APNU+AFC administration’s failures with regards to Amerindian development from the period 2015 to 2020.

“Upon return to office, the PPP/C government met a plethora of issues that affected our indigenous people. These range from indiscriminate neglect and stagnant village economies, all the way to the pause of land titling for our first people,” she revealed.

Some 1,972 Community Service Officers (CSOs) were dismissed by the APNU+AFC, denying $700 million from the pockets of Amerindian youths.

“Today, 2,500 young people are fully engaged again, and are receiving an income so they can help put food on their tables,” minister Sukhai posited.

The programme was not only reinstated but the number is expected to increase to 3,000 in 2023, creating 500 more jobs for Amerindian youths.

Also, no training was conducted with Amerindian leaders, and no land titling activities were conducted by the APNU+AFC government.

Minister Sukhai pointed out that since assuming office, the PPP/C Administration has reinstated several programmes that seek to improve the lives of Amerindians.

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