Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs to prioritise youth empowerment, education – $13B budget approved

GINA, GUYANA, Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Youth empowerment and education remain high on the agenda of the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs for 2017. This was disclosed during the examination of the estimates and expenditures for the allocations to the Ministry to carry out its mandate.

The $13B approved by the committee of supply will be used for the following:

  • $991M for the further progress the Hinterland Employment and Youth Service, HEYS, Programme
  • $210 M for the Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs national events which include rodeo, heritage jingle, heritage month, music and arts

    Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Valerie Garrido-Lowe

    festival, and Rupununi Expo

  • $50M for infrastructural development of the male and female dormitories
  • $11.5M for the completion of the Dried Tomatoes project in Paramakatoi
  • $127.5M for hinterland training and scholarships
  • $50M for the Bina Hill Institute
  • $16M for the National Toshaos Council Secretariat

The passage of the allocations was not approved with scrutiny from members of the Opposition. Representing the Ministry was Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Valerie Garrido-Lowe.

Opposition Member of Parliament (MP) and Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira questioned why the Bina Hill Institute was receiving $50M, and the National Toshaos Council (NTC) Secretariat, $16M. Teixeira argued that the NTC has more responsibilities since it is accountable for over 200 communities.

However, Minister Garrido-Lowe noted that education is principal, adding that the money allocated to the NTC will cater for meetings. “The $50 Million for Bina Hill caters for the increase of the students and that is education, and our government  would agree with us that education is paramount right now in our country, and the hinterland must not be left behind,” the Minister explained.

Opposition Member of Parliament, Yvonne Pearson

Empowering indigenous youths continues to be on the front burner of the Ministry. The sum of $991M was cleared to further progress the HEYS Programme.

Opposition Member of Parliament Yvonne Pearson questioned whether the money will be used efficiently. The question came due to lack of timely payments to HEYS youths and facilitators, and lack of tools for the youths to practice what they have learnt.

Minister Garrido-Lowe apologised for the late payments, stating that all payments will be completed before the end of 2016. However, the Minister said that due to the HEYS programme, the youths are now motived to do more for themselves.

Additionally, Opposition Member of Parliament, Nigel Dharamlall enquired about the increased allocation of the security services of $66.309M which Minister Garrido-Lowe noted caters to the ministry’s staff who occupies a rental building and the electricity bill for the indigenous village in Sophia.

 

By: Isaiah Braithwaite

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