Major developments for Region Eight Amerindian villages in 2021
-Monkey Mountain, Taruka to get increase in Presidential Grant
Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Hon. Pauline Sukhai recently hosted a three-day outreach to three Region Eight villages, during which she handed over quantity of food, agricultural and other items, and she outlined plans to ensure that they benefit equitably from Government programmes and services.
During her engagements with residents of Monkey Mountain, Tuseneng and Taruka, Potaro-Siparuni, Minister Sukhai said Government plans to provide more training opportunities, establish more information and communication technology hubs and execute projects funded under the Presidential Grants programme.
She also said there would be continuous engagement between the Government and village offices, which will be facilitated by Community Support Officers (CSOs). The CSO programme is part of the PPP/C Government’s commitment to Amerindian youth development, advancement and investment.
Minister Sukhai assured residents that “2021 is the year where we get back on track in working for the people.”
At Monkey Mountain, she handed over a cheque valued 1.5 million to the village council for the construction of a village office to enable the council to execute its mandate. This sum was provided through the 2020 Presidential Grant for the village.
The Minister also charged the village council to conduct its work in the best interest of the people.
“You are elected to deal with the welfare, represent the people of the village, function in collaboration with the Government to ensure the polices, programmes and execution of those programmes are done to the best of the ability of the agencies that have responsibility for ensuring that government services are accessible to the people.”
Additionally, Minister Sukhai revealed that in keeping with its manifesto promise, the Government would increase the 2021 Presidential Grant for Monkey Mountain to $1.8 million. This would provide the necessary funds for the council to upgrade and furnish the village’s guest house, which could boost its potential as a tourist destination.
The Minister also said a list of names of CSOs have been submitted to the Ministry to activate the programme.
At the close of the visit, Minister Sukhai presented a quantity of food items, masks and sanitisers, and a brush cutter to the village council for distribution.
Meanwhile at Tuseneng, the Minister thanked the villagers for their warm welcome.
Tuseneng recently collected its 2020 Presidential Grant for the construction of a dining hall for students.
Minister Sukhai encouraged the village council to ensure that the project was completed promptly. She also commended the community for submitting the list of names of its CSOs, even as she reminded the CSOs that at times they may have a taxing workload.
“I encourage you to work together and support each other for community development,” she said.
Minister Sukhai reminded the village council that the Government has reintroduced the Community Development Project, which must be an income-generating venture for the area. She then encouraged the Council to craft a “good proposal/project” that will benefit the community significantly.
The Minister also highlighted the need for residents and councillors to identify a building for the community’s internet hub. She said this needed to be done soon so that an assessment can be made on whether the building identified needed renovations or if a new building would have to be constructed. In the latter case, the village council would need to submit an estimate to the Ministry.
At the close of this meeting, Minister Sukhai handed over a complete solar radio set, a brush cutter, a quantity of agricultural tools, food items, masks and sanitisers.
At Taruka, Minister Sukhai announced that the village’s 2021 Presidential Grant would increase from $1.2 million to $1.5 million. The meeting also heard that the village plans to purchase a boat with its 2020 Presidential Grant.
The Minister told residents that their 2021 Presidential Grant and the grant from the Community Development Project would be available after the 2021 Budget is passed. She also highlighted some of the training opportunities available for those villagers desirous of becoming CSOs.
“Training will be available for CSOs in Solar Panel Programme, Driving and Computer Literacy Training,” she said.
Taruka also received two sewing machines, a quantity of agricultural tools, food items, sanitisers, masks and a brush cutter.
Throughout the meetings in Region Eight, Minister Sukhai encouraged villagers to protect themselves from COVID-19. She urged them to observe the gazetted precautionary measures to suppress the disease.