Govt invested $2.3BILLION in hinterland youths

─ 2,054 entrepreneurs created

─ “Today, our young people are working and producing” – Min. Allicock

─ “Our Government does not believe in handouts. We believe in empowering people and giving them the economic support required so that they can create successful and meaningful lives for themselves” – Min. Garrido-Lowe

DPI, Guyana, Friday, December 28, 2018

The APNU+AFC Government over the past three years has invested $2.3 BILLION in hinterland youth empowerment, which has resulted in the establishment of 2,054 successful businesses.

The youths were trained under the Hinterland Employment and Youth Service (HEYS) programme that targeted approximately 4,000 youths in the 215 Indigenous villages and communities across the country.

Businesses formed under this programme ranged from cattle rearing, poultry rearing (Broilers, Layers and Ducks), crop & vegetable farming, nursery (grafting of fruit trees), fishing, fish farming, sheep, goat and pig rearing, production of cassava bread, cassareep and honey, establishment of hardware stores and a floating grocery store just to name a few.

The HEYS programme is a fulfilment of the promise made by the Coalition Government when it took office in 2015. It followed the closure of the Youth Entrepreneurship and Apprenticeship Programme (YEAP).

In 2016, close to $1Billion was budgeted for the new HEYS project, which was piloted in Paramatakoi, Mountain Foot, Bamboo Creek, Monkey Mountain, Tuseneng and Tarukain in Region Eight, Potaro-Siparuni. A further $991M was allocated in 2017 and $981.7M in 2018.

This new initiative not only provided the participants with the opportunity to establish their own businesses but also allowed them to enrol in institutions such as the University of Guyana, Carnegie School of Home Economics, Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA), the Kuru Kuru Cooperative College and other technical institutions.

In addition to the $30,000 monthly stipend, the youths received during the one-year programme, a $50,000 startup grant was given to students who were desirous of creating their own businesses.

In order to ensure that these businesses grew in strength and flourished, a further $176.1M was approved for monitoring and mentoring, along with additional monetary support in 2019.

Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock explained that the plan for 2019 is to ensure that the current business establishments are sustainable, hence the sum will see the current youth entrepreneurs receiving an additional $50,000 to boost their businesses.

“Our hinterland youths are no longer in front of Parliament protesting in sun and rain. Today, our young people are working and producing,” Minister Allicock said.

Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Valerie Garrido-Lowe noted in her 2019 Budget presentation that:

“Other than producing young entrepreneurs, HEYS is really a stepping stone for many of the youth… Our Government does not believe in handouts. We believe in empowering people and giving them the economic support required so that they can create successful and meaningful lives for themselves.”

Synieka Thorne

Images: Department of Public Information

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