“Govt committed to creating opportunities for you” – Minister Garrido-Lowe to residents of Chenapou
DPI, Guyana, Thursday, February 22, 2018
Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Valerie Garrido-Lowe has assured the residents of Chenapou Village, Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni), that the government is committed to creating economic opportunities for them.
Minister Garrido-Lowe visited the community on February 21, where she charged the village to come up with a green sustainable community project, that will generate income and create jobs for residents within the community.
During a meeting at the Chenapou Primary School, the Minister said the residents should use the example of Paramatakoi Village, where the successful sun-dried tomato project was launched, with support from the Government of Guyana, the Canadian Embassy and the Institute of Applied Science and Technology (IAST).
Minister Garrido-Lowe explained that when the project first started, the people of Paramatakoi were very sceptical. Nonetheless, the minister pointed out, the villagers had a vision and they understood the benefit that such a project will bring to their community.
“I say this to say that if they can do it, you (Chenapou) can do it. You can come up with a project that will enhance the livelihood of the people. Utilise your land, think about it, discuss it and we will support you. I will be visiting you again and I need to see enthusiastic people who are willing to get onboard,” Minister Garrido-Lowe emphasized.
The residents, who welcomed the prospect of creating such an initiative agreed to discuss it at the community level. They also had the opportunity to raised issues and concerns affecting them. Once such matter was the condition of the road from Chenapou to Paramakatoi and Chenapou to Mikwak and also the road that leads from the airstrip to the community.
One of the villagers, Sylvester Joseph, explained that Chenapou is a farming community, and given the state of the road it is difficult for the residents to transport their produce to Mahdia and other communities. He also said that it poses a difficulty for the students who have to traverse the roads to attend school. Joseph said in order for the community to be fully self-sufficient, these issues need to be addressed.
Minister Garrido-Lowe promised to engage the regional administration on the matter and to lobby for the roads to be repaired at the soonest time possible.
Dereck Williams, Deputy Toshao, said that the community has four zones and the plan is to create income generating projects in each zone, that will benefit families in the community.
Minister Garrid0-Lowe reiterated that the government will be willing to support any community project that will improve the livelihood of the people. “We have to come up with something that can work, something that will transform the village. You have to be willing to support and participate. You can start small and build on it.”
Once the village would have met and discussed possible projects, the Minister Garrido-Lowe will be returning to the village to discuss the ideas.
By: Synieka Thorne