Indigenous leaders commend $3B investment by gov’t

Indigenous leaders are commending government for the recent announcement of $3 billion investment to be made in their communities. The $3 billion supplementary budget will be laid before the National Assembly on July 21 for approval.

President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali

President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali made the disclosure on Thursday when he addressed the over 200 leaders at the National Toshaos Conference. Prior to the announcement, the President had asked that the leaders document interventions they require to improve their livelihoods.

Toshao Timothy Andrews of St. Cuthbert’s Mission

Toshao of St. Cuthbert’s Mission, Timothy Andrews said as far as he can remember, it is the first time he is aware of such an intervention ever being made.

This, he pointed out, will add to the ongoing development in the region four community.

“I would like to take this opportunity to say to all of the Ministers that you are an inspiration to our Amerindian brothers and sisters. My encouragement is to keep doing what you are doing, keep the good work going and I can assure you that what you have done in just under two years, has transformed my community in that space of time. I am happy to say that my community has benefitted tremendously under these two years,” he said.

Finton Ragonaught, Toshao of Swan Village

Toshao of Swan Village, Finton Ragonaught was also complimentary of the move by government. He explained that for the period under the previous administration, little to nothing was done in the community.

Ragonaught said the development his community is experiencing was anticipated under a President Ali led government.

“I said, that our leader that we are putting in place His Excellency Irfaan Ali, he said that as soon as he took office, he will ensure that we have a school, health center, we are going to get better water service and I would like to say today to the President, I thank you so much for standing to your word,” he relayed.

He further added that he was excited “to know what the government is doing for our community because even what they had not promised us, we received. So, Mr. President, I want to thank you on behalf of my village.”

Member of Amerindian Action Movement of Guyana, Peter Persaud also stated that “the interventions made so far have been so excellent that we are just waiting for Thursday to come. We must not be worried; we certainly will be successful. Under this government we can be assured of all success.”

Government has been making unprecedented investment in hinterland and riverine communities since taking office.

In an effort to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, government disbursed $1.73 billion in one-grants as relief funds to the over 200 indigenous communities. The main objective of the grant was to assist the communities in creating income-generating projects to mitigate the hardships faced by the residents.

Hinterland and riverine residents also benefitted from the COVID-19 $25,000 one-off cash grant which was distributed countrywide. Additionally, the special $25,000 grant was recently announced by President Ali in light of the recent increase in the cost of living.

Also, significant investments were made in the areas of agriculture, education and healthcare.

Overall, aside from the $3 billion recently announced, government has invested over $50 billion in the hinterland and riverine communities.