Region Nine must capitalise on anticipated development – Min. Allicock
DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, April 16, 2018
Indigenous communities within Region Nine (Upper Takatu-Upper Essequibo) has been urged to prepare for the economic opportunities that the Linden to Lethem road will bring.
Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock, who made the charge, was addressing indigenous village leaders at a recent stakeholder’s consultation on the way forward for the Hinterland Sustainable Agriculture project to be established in Lethem.
“This road is going to become a reality and we must be prepared to use the road and do not allow the road to use us. What plans do we have as villagers to use that road, what are our cottage industries, who are our business persons in our communities, who are the technical people? Is the road only going to be used to neighbouring Brazil or to go to Georgetown?” Minister Allicock asked the village leaders.
The minister said that communities need to get themselves organised and deliberate on income-generating projects that will bring economic benefits to their communities. “Once the road is open, we will need restaurants, mechanics, hotels, tour guides and many other services along the way, are you thinking about these things. Here is an opportunity to get into some serious business, a business that will bring in huge profits.”
Minister Allicock further encouraged, “we have very intelligent people who know where the house leaks this is an opportunity that we must grasp and if we take this opportunity, we are positioning ourselves strategically.”
The minister urged the leaders to put their ideas on paper and engage the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) and the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, who will be willing to provide that technical and financial support to any viable project.
He also highlighted that governments, past and present, would have expended billions of dollars in communities but, “are we seeing the results? Remember this is tax payer’s monies, it is an investment.”
The minister said that since the APNU/AFC government took office in 2015, it has spent millions of dollars to fund cattle rearing and various agriculture projects, carpentry, block making, tourism among other projects.
The indigenous leaders were also urged to adopt the ‘Green State Development Strategy’ and consider the benefits of renewable energy, wind farms, solar farms, and hydropower.
By: Synieka Thorne