Potaro-Siparuni Region receives $31 million COVID-19 allocation

─ money for specific developmental projects in communities  

Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Hon. Pauline Sukhai has disbursed $31 million to communities in Potaro-Siparuni (Region Eight), as part of Government’s one-off, national cash grant to bolster communities affected by the pandemic.

Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Hon. Pauline Sukhai in Region Eight.

Today’s allocation benefitted five communities located in the Sub-District Two area:  Micobie ($10 million), El Paso ($3 million), Campbelltown ($10 million), Princeville ($5 million) and Muruwa ($3 million).

Addressing residents, Minister Sukhai said it was not an easy task coming into office and being faced with little resources. However, the Government of Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, has led a robust, national response to the pandemic.

“Our Government has moved the entire position of our fight against COVID-19 from one when there was no response or minimum response, to one where there is now significant response. What the Government did to achieve where we are today is, first of all, as we entered office was to transition the National COVID-19 Task Force into one which dealt specifically with addressing our concern.”

Minister Sukhai said the Government also began working with the regional authorities to ensure their specific COVID-19 Task Forces were on board with the national level to ensure regional populations were not left at risk. The Minister also noted that those communities already affected were prioritised for relief efforts.

Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Hon. Pauline Sukhai with community councillors after distributing $31M in COVID-19 cash grant in Region Eight. Also in photo, (R) RHO of Region Eight – Dr. Ravendra Dudnauth and (L) Deputy REO – Mr. Shaun Britton. Standing at extreme (L) is the Ministry’s Programme Coordinator, Mr. Besham Ramsaywack.

“The movement of our responsiveness to this challenge is very visible. Our food supply was shuttled into many areas that were affected by COVID-19, hotspots were identified and population there was supported.”

Minister Sukhai also issued a challenge to village councils to ensure communities follow the COVID-19 guidelines.   

“There are many communities who believe COVID-19 is not a threat, is not real, and as leaders, as councillors of your villages, we are depending on you to make sure that you influence the villagers to take care of themselves, not to put themselves at risk, to ensure that they follow the minimal, if not the maximum COVID-19 protocols.”

She also urged residents to maintain social distancing, masking and hand hygiene to protect themselves and others. Minister Sukhai said Amerindian communities in some areas have been hardest hit by the pandemic and therefore, the Government has been addressing those based on assessment.

Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Hon. Pauline Sukhai addressing residents of Region Eight on Saturday.

“There have been many questions by Amerindian leaders, why only some communities were getting relief supplies … Again, I want to explain that hotspots, communities and villages that were on lock down, those were the ones targeted by the CDC, Ministry of Amerindian Affairs and the COVID-19 Task Force first, but we realised that all over Guyana was reeling from the impact of COVID-19; that is why the $25,000 cash relief was introduced.”

Altogether, Government has allocated a one-off $1.73 billion to be divided across the hinterland regions for communities affected by COVID-19. These funds, Minister Sukhai said, will be used to create a space for information and communication technology/ creation of ICT Hubs. The remaining sums would be used for infrastructure development projects or income generating projects to mitigate the hardships faced by communities.  

Of the $1.73 billion, Region One will receive $542 million, Region Two, $105 million, Region Three, $23 million, Region Four, $47 million, Region Five, $15 million, Region Six, $30 million, Region Seven, $216 million, Region Eight, $208 million, Region Nine, $454 million and Region Ten, $92 million.

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