Govt has responsibility to work closely with hinterland residents -Minister Allicock
DPI, Guyana, Monday, December 18, 2017
Minister of Indigenous People’s Affairs Sydney Allicock has promised government’s continued support to Indigenous Guyanese, saying that though the work the is demanding at times, the government’s mandate remains the assurance of “a good life for all.”
He made the remarks during a special visit to the village of Chinoweng, upper Mazaruni where he, along with Minister of Public Affairs Dawn Hastings-Williams interacted with residents from both there and the neighbouring Wax Creek Village.
With more than 80,000 persons from 215 communities and villages of nine indigenous groups across Guyana, and with a still growing population, the task can be a little heavy Minster Allicock said. However, he said the government is not backing down and is working for its people.
“We have recognised those things and we have been planning. The Ministry has employed more community Development Officers (CDO’s) and Community Health Workers (CHW). Get your demarcations done. Get your certificate and general everyday work and help the community with their development.”
According to Minister Allicock, the government is investing in the lives of its people. For Chinoweng, he said, even before the administration took office, there have been equipment and finance going into the communities. Over time, the Minister said there has been a high presence of equipment lying on the corners for the want of either batteries, or needed parts.
“That is not proper management. Things were given to you without a plan. We would like to correct that because these equipment are expensive and it is taxpayers’ money that we are getting, so it is not easy money”, he told the residents.
However, he emphasised that the government has that responsibility to work closely with residents. He said that is the very reason why the government has employed CDO’s to work closely with the Toshao’s council and the people to assist in monitoring the development of the community.
He said since government took office back in 2015, it has made significant headway towards development in the community of Chinoweng. These include a $1.5 million grant in 2016 for the construction of a multipurpose centre. In 2017, an ATV was also delivered to the community. Government is also working on a village history, which will provide the much-needed information on the community’s heritage. In 2016, $2 million was allocated for the building of a “Rest House” in the community. 15 youths from the community were also part of the Hinterland Employment and Youth Service (HEYS). For 2018, the government intends to provide a $1.5 million funding for the community, Minister Allicock reported.
Over in Wax Creek government was able to facilitate the construction of a village office at a cost of $1.3 million in 2016. In 2017, $800,000 was allocated for a wooden boat. In the new year, residents will be able to benefit from an $800,000 fund.
Meanwhile, Minister Dawn Hastings told residents of the successful passage of the 2018 National Budget and that programs are in place for the community in the health and education sectors.
“We have a policy that wherever we spend money, work must be done to the value of the money. We have had workers before and they were paid even before doing the work. if the government allocates money to this community to build whatever, you have to be our eyes and report to the relevant authority if work is not being done to your satisfaction”.
She further called on residents to be the guardians of the projects when they are completed, also reminding them of their responsibility to take care of their environment.
By: Alexis Rodney
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