Preserve your culture as you develop – Min. Sharma urges Indigenous community

– Ministerial Outreach in Rupununi Region continues

DPI, Guyana, Saturday, February 16, 2019

The village of Maruranau in Region 9, Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo, is roughly a three-hour drive from Lethem, and its main livelihood is farming.

The Indigenous residents are from the Wapishana tribe and speak both English and their native language.

During a visit to Maruranau on Saturday, Minister within the Ministry of Finance, Jaipaul Sharma urged Toshao Ambrose Bento and villagers to push for development of their community, whilst ensuring the preserve their culture.

“I want to make sure your community prospers. I want you to have new roads, new facilities for your children… but continue to preserve the community, your culture, your lifestyle and the wildlife,” urged Minister Sharma.

He also took time to introduce the villagers to a number of initiatives and programmes the government has in place that can benefit them.

Seek out government, there is the SLED project in which communities like yours can benefit” revealed Minister Sharma.

The Sustainable Livelihood and Entrepreneurial Development (SLED) project is designed to provide support for the expansion of the local economy in communities across the nation and to aid small enterprises with the goal of stimulating youth employment.  The project was established in 2015 and budgeted for under the Ministry of Communities and now comes under the purview of the Ministry of Social Protection.

The minister also spoke to villagers about the government’s green economy plan, encouraging them to explore green tourism.

“Many want to experience what you have to offer,” said Minister Sharma.

He noted that Guyana’s eco-tourism potential remains unmatched and many benefits can be derived from the country’s natural beauty blended with a vibrant indigenous culture.

Minster Sharma also noted the government’s plan to review legislation to ensure Guyana’s first people benefit in every way.

The junior minister was accompanied by Regional Executive Officer (REO) of Region Three, Jennifer Ferreira-Dougall. They were part of the 19-member delegation of government ministers and officials currently conducting an outreach in Region 9 over the weekend. The aim of the exercise is to engage residents of the area to learn of their concerns and devise solutions to these issues.

While there, Minster Sharma and REO Ferreira-Dougall handed over farming equipment and sport gear to Toshao Ambrose Bento and the Village Council.

Story and Images: Felecia Valenzuela