CDOs urged to be more vigilant, as two-day workshop begins

GINA Georgetown, Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Community Development Officers (CDOs) of the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs were urged to be more vigilant, as they have a critical role to play in ensuring basic services are provided to the Indigenous peoples across the country.

The Ministry, today, commenced a two-day workshop aimed at building capacity of the CDOs, updating them on projects being carried out by the ministry, and listening to their concerns.

Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock addressing the participants at the Community Development Officers (CDOs) workshop held at Moray House, Camp Street Georgetown

Vice President and Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock, Minister within the Ministry, Valerie Garrido-Lowe and Permanent Secretary, Alfred King addressed the officers during the opening session at the workshop which is being held at Moray House, Camp Street, Georgetown.

The CDOs were urged to be more vigilant, by Minister Allicock who noted that they have a critical role to play towards ensuring basic services are provided to the Indigenous peoples.

Minister Allicock reminded the officers of their mandate, which is to support Indigenous communities in governance, and structured and developmental awareness by providing required information and guidelines in accordance with the perquisite statutes.

The officers’ role is also to coordinate the ministry’s programme within the communities and provide feedback between the ministry and village council, Minister Allicock emphasised.

“Across the country we have CDOs in every region, but what I’ve noticed is that they lack the willpower to excite new ideas, to give guidance to the Village Council or even to be able to attract funding for the communities or even to develop sustainable cottage industries. These are activities, that if you have the will, they are reachable, ‘doable’. It will help in the economic standing of the communities,” Minister Allicock told the participants.

As a servant of the people, Minister Allicock told the officers that they must put aside their political affiliation and work to bring about togetherness amongst the people, and create social and other activities that will see the residents engaging each other in a positive way. He told the officers that they must also collaborate with the regional officers to ensure that their voices are heard.

The Minister also emphasised the need for proper management and accountability. He said that the Ministry has been making substantial investments into communities, and it is their right to ensure those assets are properly accounted for.

“You need to help us to plan better…we have seen tractors and buses  and ATVs laid up and not working, and they are relatively new. We get the equipment, we break it and then we are hustling to train people, we cannot continue like this and that is why you are there on the ground to observe and make recommendations,” Minister Allicock said.

Meanwhile, Minister Garrido-Lowe told the CDOs that they are servants of the people and they must be equipped to answer any query a

Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Valerie Garrido-Lowe during her address to the Community Development Officers (CDOs)

resident may have.

“For example we have a project ongoing in a particular area, and the residents want to know more about this project, you have to be able to answer those questions, and to ensure that the project succeeds. You are CDOs on the ground, you have to give the people that encouragement, you are answerable to the people,” she stated.

Notwithstanding the challenges to reach those far-flung areas, Minister Garrido –Lowe urged the officers to conduct more outreaches. She said that the ministry will have to support where there is need, to ensure that officers have access to transportation to get to these areas.

Permanent Secretary, Alfred King reminded the CDOs of government’s emphasis on developing a strong and vibrant Public Service. He pointed out that the CDOs must be a part of this change in the public service.

PS King announced that the Ministry will work to ensure that this engagement becomes a quarterly one, rather than an annual one which was held in the past.

 

By: Synieka Thorne

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