Hinterland communities to benefit equally from oil and gas wealth

His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali says the impending wealth from the oil and gas sector will benefit all Guyanese equally.

The Head of State gave this assurance while addressing the Regional Toshaos’ Meeting in Region Nine on Saturday.

“Let me assure you once again, that you would benefit equally from the resources of oil and gas in your communities, there will be no distinction. There are those who would want to have distinction, those who want to have a model that separates the class structure, under the PPP/Civic Government there will be no discrimination, all Guyanese will benefit equally,” he stated.

His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali addressing the Regional Toshaos’ Meeting in Region Nine on Saturday

Dr. Ali said the region is expected to undergo massive transformational development over the next decade and consultations will be held with Amerindian communities.

“The region is going to be transformed and it is important that economic and social transformation be done in consultation and consistent with your vision of indigenous and sustainable development. It must be done in consultation with you.”

The Head of State further reiterated that his government remains committed to “strengthening inclusion” in national development. He urged the Indigenous leaders to position their communities for greater development.

“I assure you that you will not be sidelined from the process of national development, but rather, integrated to that process…my government is committed to strengthening our inclusion in national decision making. We will engage with you continuously, and do so in a genuine spirit of inclusion. We will listen we have concerns addressed these the best of our abilities.”

President Ali also noted that Region Nine will become the heartland for agriculture, a vibrant centre for industry and trade, and a hotspot for adventure, sport and nature-based tourism.

The decision to engage the Toshaos regionally was taken as part of precautionary measures to guard against the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has caused the cancellation of the National Toshaos Conference for two years now, however the government saw it fit to still engage with the Toshaos.

Speaking with DPI, several Toshaos expressed their gratitude to the government for the initiative to keep them engaged as there are burning issues that need to be discussed and issues that need to be addressed in the communities.

In addition, President Ali presented the Presidential Grant cheques to the Toshaos. This grant has been increased by ten per cent since the PPP/C government took office. Eight villages from the region also received tractors.

The Head of State was accompanied by Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal, Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn, Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hugh Todd, Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat, Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Deodat Indar and Minister within the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development, Anand Persaud.