Govt recommits to the development of hinterland village economy
DPI, Guyana, Friday, November 17, 2017
The government has reaffirmed its commitment to supporting the development of strong village economies in the hinterland regions. This was according to Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock during the recent North Rupununi District Development Board (NRDDB) meeting.
At the two-day consultation, held in the Apoteri, Rupununi River, Region Nine. Toshaos and other village leaders of the North Rupununi provided financial updates of the Village Councils, and the status of projects within their respective villages. They also took the opportunity to highlight issues and challenges, and future plans to develop their villages.
Among the issues raised was that of health, education, security, agriculture, and tourism, with the most frequent being the need to augment security patrols in order to curb the increasing number of illegal activities in the Rupununi.
Toshao of Crash Water, Silas Thomas said that the issue of illegal fishing in his community is extremely alarming since residents depend on it for their livelihood. It was reported that persons enter villages and fish without consulting the respective Village Councils.
Minister Allicock advised the leaders to have their Village Council establish their rules as provided in the Amerindian Act of 2006. “You have the authority to set out your rules and ensure that the persons adhere to it. You need to learn to manage effectively, don’t expect someone else to come and do it for you, it is your lands and your resources, manage it. You the people should be patrolling the area” he urged.
Minister Allicock explained that his ministry has been receiving several complaints regarding the illegal catching of the Arapaima fish. He advised that within the Arapaima Management Plan (AMP), communities are required to establish a management committee to oversee the proper management and protection of the Arapaima fish.
The minister cited the example of Rewa Village, who has been actively managing their boundary. The community has developed a tourism package that includes sports fishing, bird watching, and wildlife. It also has a thriving eco-lodge that attracts many local and overseas visitors.
“So, this is what Rewa has done and you can take pattern… I would like to see more of this approach to ensuring the management and protection of our resources…If we cannot manage what we have these rivers will become scares, because years ago, you could have spot hundreds of black caimans, now you are hardly seeing any. We (government) are very serious about this and we will support you.” Minister Allicock reaffirmed.
He spoke of the need for leaders to consult with their residents and create income-generating projects that will aid in the development of their communities. They were also encouraged to use the training received through programmes such as the self-reliance workshops and the Hinterland Employment and Youth Service (HEYS) programme, in this regard.
Additionally, there were calls for more trained teachers, and the issue of teachers neglecting their duties during school hours to be addressed. Fairview Toshao, Lucy Marslow requested furniture for the school in her village. She disclosed that while the village has the materials, they do not have the skilled personnel to produce the quality of furniture needed.
Minister Allicock said that the NRDDB should have persons responsible for reporting the issues to the regional administration. On the issue of furniture for Fairview, he urged the Toshao Marslow to make the materials available and pay someone from a neighbouring village to make the furniture.
The need for more trained Community Health Workers (CHWs) and the shortages of medication for Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) at Health Centres/huts were also raised. Minister Allicock promised to apprise the respective ministries on those matters.
Also present at the meeting was Ministerial Advisor, Mervyn Williams and the ministry’s Project Officer, Besham Ramsaywack.
By: Synieka Thorne
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