Govt invested more than $45M in Youth from Three Friends, Old England/Siberia, Coomacka Mines, Silver Hill & Kairuni
Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Press Release – Saturday, February 2, 2019
Government has invested more than forty-three million ($43M) dollars towards building the capacity of Indigenous youth from Three Friends, Old England/Siberia and Coomacka Mines in Region 10 and Silver Hill and Kairuni in Region Four.
This investment was made possible through the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Flagship Youth Programme, the Hinterland Employment Youth Service (HEYS), during the second phase of the programme which commenced in August 2017 and concluded in July 2018.
The programme saw twenty-one youths from all of the communities except Silver Hill with fifteen youth, fully capitalising on this investment as they venture into lucrative business ventures.
During a Ministerial Outreach to the respective communities on Wednesday which was led by Minister within the Ministry Valerie Garrido-Lowe, youths spoke enthusiastically about the positive impact the HEYS programme is having on their lives.
Nola Lamazone a participant from Three Friends in expressed profound gratitude to the Government for this initiative, she said her business continues to expand to a point where she is now able to provide employment opportunities.
“I started out as the eldest on the HEYS participant list and when we had to sit in the classroom for six months I said I have to make some money, so I started making egg ball, plantain chips, tamarind balls, drinks even though that was not my ambition, (which was to sell clothes) so I saved more and I switched out and started selling clothes. To date, I have also bought some chickens which would produce eggs for my egg ball business. I also bought a freezer and support the HEYS participants who sell chickens. And you would find that you would want to do so much so you find a job on the side, so I have a part-time employee who would work with me”, Lamazone said.
Rowel Douglas from Siberia/Old England said “I must thank the Government for bringing this programme into Old England/Siberia because it has done a lot for me because I started off with fifty chickens and now, I can buy two hundred chickens and I’m bringing it in stages…when I’m finished plucking, it’s all sold out and I don’t even have any for myself”.
Triana Khan also of Siberia/old England said “thank you for giving us a second chance, my business was only drinks, but I developed my business whereby I do an event every Friday night (karaoke) where I gain an extra something, and my business is developing. I have learnt communication skills, how to deal with negativity and positivity, how to deal with competition, how to speak boldly and I want to say thank you once again”.
“I want to thank the Government for not just Siberia/Old England community with the HEYS Programme, but throughout Guyana, it would have benefitted many young people who would have had a second chance. I didn’t just sell chickens, I had a variety of businesses when I was also selling chickens, I was doing chips, for Christmas I provided some preserved fruits, I’m also starting a new business –brush cutting and spraying of yards, beside that I would like to go into lettuce and celery planting. This is one of the projects they would have taught us to be self-sufficient”, Maurica Rudder of Siberia/Old England acknowledged.
Candancy Wolf of Silver Hill also expressed gratitude. “I have extended from a small grocery shop to a small fast food outlet where I sell chicken and chips, I had a refrigerator and I could have afforded to buy another one and also a bigger engine so that I could have pushed both refrigerators and I want to get into ice cream business so we are thankful to the Government that I can build myself in so many ways”.
Arrienna Hosea noted that “I am grateful and thankful for HEYS. The business we have is a partnership (sibling Annia Hosea), we started small and we have grown from the time we achieved all the things HEYS gave to us. We see where we have developed. I also bought another shop and around June I will open that shop, and I know because of HEYS that is where I am. I don’t really have words to say I’m grateful”.
Like Three Friends, Siberia/Old England, received approximately $9.5Million dollars through the HEYS programme, monies which would have contributed significantly to the community’s economy.
Twenty-one youths from the community received thirty thousand dollars monthly for twelve months ($7.56M), each of them receiving a fifty thousand dollars grant ($1.05M) as well as two facilitators who each received sixty-five thousand dollars monthly for seven months ($910,000). This amounts to $9.520M invested by the APNU/AFC Government between 2017 and 2018 in that community.
Some fifteen-youths benefitted in Silver Hill which saw an investment of $5.4Million in stipend, each of them receiving a fifty thousand dollars grant ($750,000) and two facilitators who each received sixty-five thousand dollars monthly for seven months ($910,000). This amounts to $7,060M invested in the youth of Silver Hill.
Over the last two years, three thousand seven hundred and ninety-five (3,795) youths in 222 villages and communities across the Hinterland benefited from training in life skills, vocational interests and entrepreneurial skills.
In 2019, young Indigenous people with existing businesses would receive a further boost with an additional fifty-thousand-dollar grant.
This is a defining moment in the lives of the nations’ Indigenous youth, the staunch commitment made by the David Granger led coalition Government to the Indigenous peoples.
Minister Garrido-Lowe, who has responsibility for women, children and youth was visibly moved to tears on hearing the testimonies of the youth and the positive effect the HEYS program continues to have on their lives.
“It is a joy to serve my people and a special joy to work with young people because young people are the leaders of tomorrow and if you work with them today, you can sit down in your old years and admire the product you have helped to nurture in your community and country. Everybody deserves a second chance and your Government, the APNU/AFC Government has invested close to two billion dollars in our young people; it shows we care and that we have confidence in our youth and our people. I can assure you that your Government has created so many opportunities for you, so it is time for you to go after those opportunities”, the Minister urged.
Villages visited during the outreach, also received their HEYS resource kits which will further boost their business ventures. The kits were handed over by Minister Valerie Garrido-Lowe.
Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs