Minister Croal takes education grant to Matthews Ridge, Arakaka

– outlines several developmental plans

Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal, MP, encouraged parents and guardians at Matthews Ridge and Arakaka to use the Government’s ‘Because We Care’ cash grant for students wisely.

The Minister rolled out the programme in the Barima-Waini (Region One) communities on Sunday.

In his address to parents and guardians there, Minister Croal noted the importance of education and assured the gathering that the grant is to support their efforts to prepare their children for school.

This grant therefore, is expected to be part of an investment for you, the parents, in your children’s future. It is expected that we utilise it for the purpose intended.

“Use it for investment into our children in whatever capacity that you see fit. You have the latitude, you have the freedom to determine how you will spend this grant,” he said.

Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal, MP, looks on as a parent receives the grant for her children

Minister Croal noted that while the Education Ministry provided worksheets and other resources for children during the early states of the pandemic, students are expected to return to the classroom in September.

As such, he urged parents to help facilitate this transition and ensure their children’s safety by taking a COVID-19 vaccine to protect themselves from contracting a severe form of the disease.

This woman and children at the Arakaka Primary School for the grant distribution exercise

At Matthews Ridge, the Minister also revealed plans for infrastructural development and more training opportunities.

We recognise that we would like to have development here taking place at a much faster rate, and so in Budget 2022 you can see a little more regional interventions to enhance the infrastructure development here in Matthews Ridge.”

Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal, MP receives a warm welcome at Arakaka

He also invited them to make recommendations for training programmes for the young people there to develop the community.

You will find that the pace of development in our country will increase ten-fold and as that happens, we will also work to improve the lives of our citizens here.

“We will advocate for some more rapid infrastructure development here,” he said.

This parent waits while the grant for her child is being processed

In addition, Matthews Ridge also benefited from a 250 KVA generator, which the Board of the power company would use to increase electricity in the community from 18 hours per day.

Minister Croal said next year, through the Regional Administration and the Ministry of Public Works there would be interventions to do the internal road network. He also noted that the Neighbourhood Democratic Council sub-office is functional; the power company will have an office, and the nursery school is completed after having been stalled for years. More renovations are also expected to continue on the primary school.

At the same time, he encouraged companies there to be more responsive to the communities’ needs.

We also will expect at the level of the manganese company… I would like to see a little more collaboration or social services or social responsibility, a little more here in Matthews Ridge.

“That’s my personal plea, but in addition to that, you can see they will reach to a level where the output will pick up and then you will have some additional employment coming on stream,” he said.

Meanwhile, at Arakaka, villagers can expect to benefit from improved electricity supply as more households would be connected to the central grid during the first phase of the electrification programme there. They would also benefit from the hinterland housing programme. Several other interventions would be made to enhance residents’ quality of life.

Meanwhile, recipients of the grant applauded the Government for the initiative.   

Ms. Marjorie Edwards, a grandmother of 11 said the money would be used for its intended purpose. 

“It’s a wise idea with the Government in sharing the money to the children, especially the ones them that really, really needs the money. I must say I’m thankful for it, it’s my grandchildren I’m collecting for because my children already big.

Ms. Marjorie Edwards

“I’m happy that they sharing so that we can able to utilise the money to buy the lil school clothes, the text book and pencil book or whatever it is.”

Mr. Berkley Grant, a father of four, said the money would help supplement household income.

“The cash grant is so great for little kids because in Matthews Ridge most of these kids’ parents some in the jungle working gold, some don’t come on time.

Mr. Berkley Grant

“So, the Government did great for them, real great. At least it could help take care of the kids and their families as well. I really appreciate what the Government doing,” he said.

Ms. Marlene Gouveia, an unemployed single mother of two welcomed the money.

“It gon help buy clothes for them and so on; I mean, them father go away from them a long time and it’s just me alone so, I’m thankful for it.” On Sunday more that $65 million were distributed in the Martarkai Sub-Region.

Ms. Marlene Gouveia