Major developments for Amerindians in 2019 – Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs

─ Over $900M for hinterland development 

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, January 10, 2019

Indigenous peoples, in the 215 villages countrywide, are set to benefit from major development to their communities during this year. Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock said recently that the ministry is fully prepared to execute works, valued at more than $700M for the further development of the hinterland districts.

The minister made the disclosure during his address to the various heads of department under the purview of the ministry, on the way forward. He told the heads at meeting, held at the Resource Centre on Woolford Avenue that despite the political atmosphere, the government remains in office and advised that everyone proceed with their duties as per normal. Minister Allicock also reminded the heads that the ministry’s projects are fully budgeted for in this year’s budget.

“Our projects are key to village economic development and we all remain committed to supporting these projects, which are of great importance to communities, including the anticipated coffee project in Santa Rosa. We will see the realization of initiatives focusing on agro-processing, food processing, fruit farms and eco-tourism among many others. So, we have our work lined up for us,” Minister Allicock underscored.

Additionally, more than $235M, the minister said, will be invested in 215 Indigenous villages under the Presidential Grant Project. In this regard, he noted that every department represented “has a key role to play in executing our work plan and bringing us one step closer to realizing our mission”.

Meanwhile, Minister within the Ministry, Valerie Garrido-Lowe reminded the department heads that the Indigenous People are very dependent on the work they do daily. She also outlined some of the projects spearheaded by the ministry. Among them were the Hinterland Employment and Youth Service (HEYS), providing aid during natural disasters and the establishment of a fish and crab processing facility which is in an advanced state process of construction, among others.

“This ministry is close to the hearts and minds of the Indigenous people. This is their ministry, that is why they turn so readily as soon as something happens to let this ministry know and they expect that we would do something to help solve that problem,” Minister Garrido-Lowe stated.

According to Permanent Secretary to the Ministry, Alfred King, in 2018 the ministry completed 92 per cent of its work, which is commendable. However, he urged more inter-department and inter-agency collaboration to better serve the Indigenous People. This, he said, will maximize the resources available. King reminded that the ministry has the mandate to provide support to the Indigenous people and it is something that should not be taken for granted.

By: Isaiah Braithwaite.

Image: Leon Leung.

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