Indigenous communities more economically independent – Min. Garrido-Lowe

DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Residents of indigenous communities are said to be more economically independent, and Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affairs, Valerie Garrido Lowe has assured that the government is committed to achieving this self-determination in all hinterland communities and villages across the country.

Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples Affairs, Valerie Garrido-Lowe.

According to Minister Garrido-Lowe, the government has been working to bring the hinterland communities into the mainstream of national development, by implementing programmes and policies that will see them being more self-sustaining, thereby moving away from the culture of dependency.

With the implementation of green sustainable projects such as the ground coffee production facility at Santa Rosa and the cassava flour production plant in Kwebanna, Region One, this year, the economic independence of these indigenous communities will be further strengthened.

The Hinterland Employment and Youth Service (HEYS) initiative, geared at empowering some 4000 indigenous youths in 212 communities, is among several other projects implemented by the government to promote economic independence.  Seven hundred young entrepreneurs were birthed out of this programme, and many opted to attend a higher institute of learning. The government has, thus far, expended approximately $2B on this venture.

Likewise, the tomato project in the North Pakarimas is another successful enterprise. This project cost the government some $59M, while the High Commission of Canada invested a much appreciated $5M.

“This modern facility, complete with a solar power system, a solar dryer and internet connectivity, a processing facility, a dormitory, a water trestle and a guard hut, stands at the top of the mountain, as a beacon of hope and innovation – a true testimony for all to see, that the indigenous people of Guyana, can rise to any occasion; that they can build thriving communities and sustain themselves, and contribute more to society,” Minister Garrido-Lowe said.

Sun-dried tomatoes, tomato salad dressing, and tomato ketchup – all products carrying the brand “Pakarima Flavours” are available at local supermarkets.

Additionally, some $10M will be expended this year, to construct a Lapidary Workshop in Monkey Mountain. This venture will provide jobs for at least 20 persons within Monkey Mountain and surrounding areas.

The sum of $80M has been allocated in the Ministry’s Budget to begin construction of a Hinterland Green Enterprise Development Centre at Bina Hill, North Rupununi. This facility is the first of its kind and is expected to facilitate 120 students from Region One, Seven, Eight, Nine and Ten. The institution will focus on training that will leverage indigenous traditional knowledge and drive upstream demand for local products and services.

 

By: Synieka Thorne

 

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