Masakenari village to get $10M road, airstrip upgrade – President Ali

Residents of Masakenari, one of the most remote villages in Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo), will benefit from major infrastructure and other developments this year.

His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali being greeted by Toshao Paul Chekema

His Excellency, Dr Irfaan Ali during a cabinet outreach Saturday, announced that government will make available $5 million to upgrade the Masakenari Airstrip to allow aircraft to land there during the rainy season.

“It is during the rainy season that you need emergency supplies and emergency flights, so what we want to do, we are going to work with the region and the community, we are going to find resources so that you can provide the labour and the material here,” he said at the community engagement held at the village Benab.

His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali addressing residents of Masakenari

To allow easier access to goods and services in the Wai Wai village, the president said another $5 million will be invested to upgrade the road from Crab Falls to Masakenari.

The project, which is a continuation of the Parabara to Kassaikaytu road link, will commence by the end of the year.

“When we were in government previously, we supported you by giving you a grant every year to upgrade that road, but after we left government in 2015, I don’t think you receive anything to upgrade that road and that is a pity and disgrace,” he said while recommitting to supporting the village’s infrastructure development.

In the area of electricity, President Ali said that some 70 households in Masakenari will benefit from the government’s solar panels per household programme which is expected to be rolled out during the first quarter of 2023. 

An ariel view of Masakenari, Region Nine

Some 30,000 hinterland and riverine households will receive 150 watts solar panels, and provision of batteries and lighting kits under that initiative, President Ali explained.

For health and education, he encouraged the village council to identify persons who are interested in working in the sectors and training will be provided. Following the training, those persons will return to the village to serve.

Further, in support of the village craft industry, the head of state announced that the government will support the village to get the craft to the market through the Amerindian Affairs Ministry.

 “We will create a fund through the Amerindian Affairs Ministry and support you with some seed capital to build the craft industry in the community,” he told residents.

Masakenari, located in the deep south of the Rupununi, has a population of approximately 300 and sits on 625,000 hectares (one million acres) of titled land. It is Guyana’s first Community Owned Conservation Area managed exclusively by the Wai Wai Amerindian tribe.

During the recently held National Toshaos Council Conference , the village leaders questioned how the village can benefit from the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) 2030.

President Ali told the residents that the government is developing the country based on the LCDS which has specific recommendations that will ensure the sustainability of the forest while supporting communities like Masakenari.

This, the president explained, will result in investments being made to improve livelihood options through projects so that the forest could be a huge source of income for the community and its people.

Based on a request by the village during his visit, President Ali handed over several pieces of equipment- a chainsaw, a brush cutter, tools and agriculture inputs, a 25 hp outboard engine, two laptops and sporting equipment to Toshao, Paul Chekema.

The head of state was joined by the Amerindian Affairs Minister, Pauline Sukhai, Local Government and Regional Development Minister, Nigel Dharamlall, Minister within the Housing and Water Ministry, Susan Rodrigues, and Regional Chairman, Bryan Allicock.

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