Ministerial visits to villages in Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo (Region 9)
Georgetown, Guyana, July 20, 2016
On July 16 and 17 Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan and Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples Affairs Valarie Garrido-Lowe visited Indigenous Peoples Villages within the region.
On July 16, the villages of Pai Pang and Tiger Pond were visited. On July 17 the Ministers visited the largest of the three villages, Karasabai, a village in the South Pakaraimas with a population exceeding one thousand two hundred residents, most of them of the Makushi tribe.
In each case, the Ministers met with residents in collective meetings as well as individually. The Toshaos of the respective villages were present at each event.
At each meeting, the Ministers emphasised that they were there to listen to the concerns of the people so that those concerns can be noted and addressed. The Ministers said, too, that they were visiting on behalf of the administration, not as politicians; the time for political campaigning has passed and it is now the job of elected officials to govern for the benefit of all the people regardless of their political affiliation; this administration will work to improve the standard of living of all Guyanese.
At the various meetings, turnouts by residents were good in proportion to the respective populations of the villages.
At the meetings, most of the time was reserved by the Ministers to listen to residents and answer their questions rather than deliver speeches. Many concerns were raised and the Ministers promised to address them. Most of those concerns could be classified as health, education, employment and infrastructure related.
After each meeting the Ministers presented the residents with sports gear, fogging machines, weed cutting machines, educational material as well as many other items not readily available in such remote areas and which would be useful to the residents.
The Ministers returned to Georgetown on the evening of July 17, having declared the visit to the region a success and promising to address the issues raised by the residents.