Heritage Month – occasion to reconnect, brainstorm and plan for future
DPI, Guyana, Saturday, September 23, 2017
Indigenous Heritage Month must not only be used to ‘party and drink’, but to celebrate the development of communities, and those who have contributed to those developments, said Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock.
During brief remarks at the Regional Heritage celebration at St Ignatius Region Nine, Minister Allicock explained that while the 2017 activities remained true to the heritage celebration, there is still room for improvement.
Minister Allicock told the gathering, representing the 65 Indigenous peoples in the region, “We must use this occasion to plan, reflect and unite. The month presented a golden opportunity to reconnect, discuss, share ideas and come up with plans for community development”.
While commending the region for maintaining their culture, he urged them to be more creative when showcasing presentations, so visitors will be attracted to see what they have to offer each year.
Minister Allicock also took the opportunity to applaud the Region for being the most organised, in terms of management and developing plans for community development.
“The South Rupununi District Council (SRDC) is a typical example of how organised the region is. The council has been working, using their resources and collaborating with the Ministry. They can give us accurate information and that is a good example of what we want to see in the hinterland regions. Who would believe that those Wapishana people, way down south, would be using drones to map out areas and get accurate information”, he noted.
It is against this backdrop; Minister Allicock disclosed that the Ministry will be looking to develop exchange programmes within the regions, to facilitate village leaders to share experiences, challenges, and ideas.
According to the Minister, the government is aware of the daily challenges. It is, therefore, developing a plan that will see better roadways, rivers, schools, health care services, communications and agriculture programmes being implemented.
In the interim, he charged the residents to make full use of the regional administration, and engage them with germane plans and projects for their respective communities. He also advised the communities to be prepared for the development that is to come, by crafting their Village Improvement Plan (VIP.)
The three-day event, which started on Thursday, saw cultural groups from North, South, and Central Rupununi showcasing the vibrant Indigenous culture through dance, songs, skits and poems. There was also archery, basket weaving and parakari drinking competitions, and football competitions. Several booths are also at the event displaying indigenous cuisines, art, and craft.
A regional pageant was also held that saw the crowning of a king and queen on Saturday evening.
By: Synieka Thorne