Development plans laid out for Indigenous communities

— issues affecting hinterland regions to be addressed

DPI, Guyana, Sunday, August 9, 2020

During a handover of COVID-19 relief supplies, newly-elected Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Hon. Pauline Campbell-Sukhai, disclosed some of the plans the Ministry has in place for the betterment of the Indigenous communities.

Minister Sukhai noted that while the Ministry is handling the immediate issue, it will also target the general neglect of the hinterland regions – including creating opportunities for the youth in the Amerindian villages.

“Our manifesto committed that immediately upon our assumption, at the earliest possible time, we will reintroduce the Community Service Officer (CSO) programme. We will be ensuring that the concept is reviewed to work with at least 2,000 youths in the very early stages of this government,” Minister Sukhai explained. 

The Amerindian Affairs Ministry, she noted, will not use COVID-19 as an excuse not to address pressing issues affecting the hinterland population.

“The hinterland is becoming a high-risk area where COVID-19 is concerned, and just two days into my assumption, we are heading to Regions 8 and 9 to provide dietary support for the quarantined families and communities. When we were not in government, we had volunteers who sent in masks to the high-risk areas, and now I am happy that we are in government so we can move swiftly with this matter.” 

Speaking on the options available for the annual Amerindian Heritage Month in September, Minister Sukhai relayed that the safety of the Indigenous community is paramount.

“We have to consider whether the cultural aspect of our heritage celebration will proceed in the way we are accustomed to… therefore, I will have to engage, on the approach, this coming week.” 

Minister Sukhai emphasised the importance of unity to achieve the changes that are about to come.

“The Ministry of Amerindian Affairs will be working collaboratively with the Local Government Ministry because together we can achieve the change we are looking for. We will continue to address the issues in the hinterland regions in the term ahead.”