Rupununi to become a training hub for hinterland youths

as 55 CSOs complete capacity building programme in Annai

Some 55 Community Support Officers (CSOs) from Region Nine on Wednesday graduated from the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs’ capacity building programme in garment construction and small engine repairs.

Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai who was accompanied by Region Nine Chairman Brian Allicock attended the graduation ceremony at the Bina Hill Institute Research Centre, in Annai, North Rupununi.

Minister of Amerindian Affairs Pauline Sukhai

The CSOs underwent an extensive two-week training and are now certified and able to directly contribute meaningfully to their communities.

Minister Sukhai urged the officers to take advantage of the skill sets learnt and venture into their businesses so they can have an additional source of income to provide for themselves and their families, even while being employed as CSOs.

“It’s additional training that will help you to earn some more and to help you also to contribute to the village because the village continues to receive capital items in the form of chainsaws, brush cutters…. now that you have the skill to service, you have the skill to repair to a certain level, you can be of assistance to your village council and we will continue to train in the area that the village requires.

“We can’t train you in something that the village is not involved in, because right now, you’re still within your village.”

Minister of Amerindian Affairs Pauline Sukhai presents a certificate to newly trained CSO

The Amerindian affairs minister told CSOs to further their skill sets by utilising the Board of Industrial Training (BIT), Government Technical Institute, and other tertiary institutions.

“You can seek out BIT, or GTI if you have certain levels of qualification. You can make the application for entry. There are scholarships available for those […] And, for those who are 18 years and over, you can apply to the PSM (Ministry of Public Service) which handles the scholarship programme for this country.”

The capacity training programme is continuous and will see CSOs from Regions One, Seven and Eight being trained in programmes at the Bina Hill Institute Research Centre. 

“The Rupununi is unfolding to be the hub of training, it is an ideal, a dream of the people of the Rupununi, that the Rupununi is going to be this hub and the starting of bringing our students from all across the hinterland here, and not only from Region Eight and Region Nine, as the Bina Hill Institute was offering, but wider participation of hinterland youths could come here to this hinterland hub to be trained.”

Participants who completed the Capacity Building Programme at the Bina Hill Institute Research Centre, Annai

Meanwhile, CSOs were encouraged to act responsibly and become role models for the younger generation of their communities.

“I want to also urge you to make sure that you aim for the skies, so take that away with you, aim for the skies. We don’t want to limit you to being a CSO. As the opportunity comes, you take it, you grab it, and you make somebody significant for yourselves and your country,” Minister Sukhai encouraged.