Committee of Supply approves $54.1M spent to host 2022 NTC conference, heritage activities
The Committee of Supply, on Monday approved $54.1 million spent from the Contingency Fund by the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs.
$5.2 million was approved for the hosting of the National Toshaos’ Council (NTC) and $48.8 million for the hosting of the Amerindian Heritage Month activities.
Amerindian Affairs Minister Pauline Sukhai explained to the committee that the supplementary funds were requested after experiencing shortfalls in hosting the NTC Conference and Heritage Month.
“Guyana was experiencing the COVID pandemic and therefore our country at the time we did our budgeting was not open. Subsequently, in close to mid-year our country was declared open and therefore many of the things that were budgeted for, we had shortfalls,” Minister Sukahi explained.
Activities including the Amerindian religious ceremony, Amerindian heritage cultural nights, Amerindian fitness walk, Steven Campbell’s commemoration , Amerindian heritage sports, heritage dinner, food, art and craft support, public relations, rehabilitation works to the Amerindian village, heritage pageant and the heritage fest were not budgeted for in the 2022 budget.
“Those are the activities that were not planned for because we were only hoping to have a virtual extravaganza like we did in 2020…so the opening of the country led to us doing a full fledged heritage month activities,” Minister Sukhai pointed out.
Meanwhile, Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr Ashni Singh in his response to questions posed by the Opposition said that the government was in no position to know the public health situation when the budget was passed.
“We were in no position, we could make assumptions, we could make projections but we were in no position,” the Finance Minister stated.