Retroactive payments for HEYS participants being distributed

GINA, Guyana, Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Valerie Garrido Lowe has confirmed that payments are being delivered to the youths and facilitators of the Hinterland Employment and Youth Service (HEYS) programme who did not receive their stipend for the period of August and September 2016.

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

Minister Garrido-Lowe explained that there were some internal challenges regarding the distribution of the monies in communities including Waikerbi, Assakata, Santa Cruz and Warapoka in Region One and Kaibarupai in Region Eight.

“In December the majority (99 per cent) of HEYS facilitators and participants were paid, the ones who were not paid were due to logistics…for example Kaibarupai in Region Eight, the officers could not get over the mountains because of the weather, but they have been paid now. Those communities way in the Waini River they couldn’t get to go there because transportation was an issue during the holiday season in December unfortunately they came back with the money, but that was only for August and September last year,” Minister Garrido Lowe told the Government Information Agency (GINA) during a recent interview.

The Minister said that the Ministry is currently negotiating with the Ministry of Finance to get warrants written so the Regional Administration can facilitate the payments. This she said will significantly reduce the delays. In the interim, Minister Garrido-Lowe assured the youths that a better system will be put in place to ensure that they receive their stipends in a timely manner.

She reminded the youths that the programme is there to empower the Indigenous youths who do not have access to technical training centres within or close to their communities. Retired professions and other skilled individuals were also employed to facilitate this programme in the respective communities.

The Hinterland Employment and Youth Service programme, which began in 2015  is geared at empowering some 2000 Indigenous youths in close to 200 Hinterland communities.

The youths are being trained and certified areas such as garment construction, carpentry, joinery and entrepreneurship. It entails six months of classroom training and six months of practical training. Participants also benefit from a stipend as well as business mentoring.

The sum of $991 million has been allocated for the HEYS programme in the 2017 budget.

 

By:  Synieka Thorne

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