‘Get yourself truly in order’ – Min. Allicock tells new Region Two village councils

DPI, Guyana, Monday, July 09, 2018

Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock recently met with the newly elected village councils and residents of Mainstay/Whyaka, Tapakuma, Mashabo and Capoey on the Essequibo Coast, Region Two.

The minister was in the Pomeroon-Supenaam Region over the weekend, continuing his rounds of visits to newly installed councils following the 2018 village elections. He was accompanied by Regional Executive Officer (REO) Rupert Hopkinson and other ministry officials.

“We need to put systems in place. We had three years of worries and trying to come together. The next three years is to get yourself truly in order… We cannot continue to be here and wanting somebody from Georgetown to come and fix your problems. This is why we put the responsibility into your hands, you as citizens have the right to come and check and help fix your books, just don’t sit down there pelting stones.”

Minister Allicock stressed the need for the villages to develop their ten-year Village Improvement Plans (VIP) that will guide villages through the process of development. This, he explained, should include plans for land management and improved education and health services, agriculture, infrastructure, youth and women empowerment.

“We have to do things for ourselves, use our initiative and stop being dependent…That is why the VIP is important because this will be able to guide the transformation of your villages. We have to begin to manage your land and have your area truly organised and start to prepare for the development that will come your way.”

The minister also emphasised the importance of proper management and accountability of village’s resources because “for years billions have been spent to procure buses, tractors and other projects and village councils can’t account for it. We have been getting reports that village councils are not handing over assets or books.” He urged them to “get your books in order; it is taxpayers’ money and you have to account for every cent.”

He also took the opportunity to highlight some of the government’s programmes and policies that will see Guyana, and in particularly the hinterland, on the path of development. These include the Green State Development Strategy (GSDS) and plans to establish several renewable energy projects involving solar and hydropower by 2020.

Rupert Hopkinson Regional Executive Officer (REO) Region Two urged the council to become entrepreneurs. “You must take ownership of your community. I want to see you becoming more business-like. Use resources at your disposal and raise funds and without the intervention of the government, you build your community.”

By: Synieka Thorne.

Images: Tejpaul Bridgemohan.