CSOs to increase to 3,000 in 2023 – Min Sukhai

The number of Community Service Officers (CSOs) will increase to 3,000 in 2o23.

Amerindian Affairs Minister, Pauline Sukhai made the disclosure during a budget discussion on NCN TV, moments after Budget 2023 was presented in the National Assembly.

This forms part of a holistic plan by the PPP/C Administration to create 50,000 jobs during its first term in office.

“This year we are moving from 2, 600 young people being engaged at the village level, building capacity, supporting development in their communities, providing leadership, being role models and also building competence in terms of the training they’re receiving from us, we are now moving to 3,000, we will be engaging 3,000 Amerindian youths,” Minister Sukhai highlighted.

Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai

The Amerindian CSOs will not only be employed but will also receive training so they can contribute to their community’s development.

The government has allocated $2.7 billion for the Amerindian Development Fund to develop Amerindian communities through training in hospitality and tourism, business development and other areas.

In addition, $500 million has been earmarked to advance Amerindian land tilting activities while $93 million has been set aside to support the hinterland scholarship programme.

Amerindian Community Service Officers (CSOs) at a graduation ceremony

Some $4.7 billion has been allocated to spur development in these communities but Minister Sukhai pointed out that Amerindians will be benefitting from initiatives that are across the board.

Among the many initiatives is the $40,000 ‘Because we Care’ and uniform and school supplies cash grant that will put millions in disposable income into the village economy.

She explained that, “Many villages in the remote areas and the hinterland, they will not be able to afford to come down to Georgetown to purchase their uniforms, so, we’re establishing sewing units so that they can sew right in the village, they can create and provide that service to the student population and the money that goes to the parent will circulate in the village.”

Emphasis will also be placed on promoting shade house agriculture in the communities for food security and sustainability.  

“It will support village food security, including the dormitories and also the school feeding programme. So, the money that is allocated to all of this will continue to circulate in the village and that will help with income for farmers, income for women, and even the youths we are promoting in terms of getting involved in agriculture,” the Amerindian affairs minister stated.

Amerindian communities are also expected to benefit from health, education, security and infrastructure interventions by the government.