Major work for indigenous communities in 2017- Minister Allicock

GINA, GUYANA, Thursday, December 08, 2016

The 2017 National Budget contains several measures that are geared to lift the quality of life of hinterland residents.

This was expressed by Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock during his presentation on day four of the budget debates, today, in the National Assembly.

Minister Allicock cited rehabilitation of 12 hinterland airstrips, and ocean going vessels, and roads’ upgrade among the interventions.

He noted that these measures are supportive of the countless other initiatives provided for in Budget 2017, in the areas of food and water security, education, health care delivery and youth development.

The sum of $13B has been allocated to the Ministry in the 2017 Budget, $264M of which has been earmarked for the erection of a 400- kilowatt solar farm in Mabaruma.

Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock supports Budget2017.

Minister Allicock said that several clean renewable energy projects such as the solar farm in Mabaruma set the tone for the National Energy Programme for the future. The Minister said that the projected energy generation from the Mabaruma solar farm will see the new town benefiting from an additional 17 hours of electricity per day.

The first phase of the Linden to Lethem road, complemented by a bridge across the Essequibo River at Kurupukari “demonstrates the will of Government’s intent upon the realisation of the type of development geared to lift the quality of life of all Guyanese, and capitalise upon the opportunities of our continental geo-space,” the Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Minister said.

The Minister told that House that, after 23 years of waiting, Port Kaituma residents, in Region One will breathe a sigh of relief because budget 2017 will cater for their road upgrade. “Issano, Karrau, Buck Hall, Karasabai, Monkey Mountain, Aishalton and Shea in Regions Seven, Eight and Nine will all benefit from major road improvement,” the Minister added.

Minister Allicock said, $111M will be directed to the Bina Hill Institute to construct dormitories, living quarters, and other facilities and about $90M will go towards the provision of school uniforms for approximately 34,000 students.

Also, for 2017, the Hinterland Scholarship Programme is expected to be expanded to cater for 530 students, an increase from the 450 that was budgeted for in 2016.

The sum of $991M has been proposed for the continuation of the Hinterland Employment and Youth Service (HEYS) programme. This will allow for an additional 1000 youths to be trained. In 2016,   1,976 were trained.

Minister Allicock added that $150M has been allocated to open access to information in the hinterland.  Guyana will soon boast of an additional four hinterland community radio stations.

“These, apart from providing employment opportunities, and support to the existing Radio Paiwomak, Radio Lethem and Radio Mabaruma, will lend to the objectives of providing information, opportunities for the preservation and promotion of indigenous cultures and languages and providing opportunities for the promotion of local talent and products,” the Minister said.

With improved infrastructural facilities, it will stimulate and foster economic activity, the Minister said. He noted that young people who, having been trained in specific skill areas will be motivated to create their own opportunities, while making use of the improved infrastructure.

Minister Allicock noted that the Government allocated $100M for the construction of 115 subsidised housing units, and 45 roof and water catchment system subsidies in Regions One and Nine, while the sum of $300M was allocated to house more medical professional and trained teachers.

The Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs is working in partnership with several organisations such as Conservation International (CI), Remote Areas Medical (RAM) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), to lift the capacity of the Indigenous population in every conceivable area, the minister stated.

“We are working to bring community development projects to boost food security, enhance health care delivery, and expand sustainable economic ventures in ecotourism and agriculture among several areas,” the Minister pointed out.

The Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Minister told the National Assembly that the indigenous peoples from various communities have expressed preference for partnerships. “All of the outcomes of the partnership engagements will create jobs; all of them will lift the quality of life of the hinterland and indigenous peoples of Guyana, with minimal reliance on the tax dollars and burden on the National Budget,” Minister Allicock said.

Some of the other areas that Budget 2017 caters for in terms of indigenous development include: renewable energy, sustainable ecotourism development, security, communication, and education.

The Minister ended his presentation by saying the Budget 2017 contains programmes and measures geared to guarantee development within the context of its theme and it is in the best interest of all Guyanese. “I, therefore, recommend its passage and accordingly call on all members of the House to offer full support in this regard.”

 

By: Gabreila Patram

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