Shulinab residents pledge their support to the government

DPI Guyana, Friday, December 22, 2017

The residents of Shulinab, South Rupununi, Region Nine have pledged their support to the government as it seeks to improve the lives of the Indigenous peoples.

On Wednesday, Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock and a team of officials visited the Macusi community, and held a meeting to discuss achievements and challenges for 2017, and plans for 2018.

Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock during his address.

During the discussion at the Community Benab, Toshao Nicholas Fredericks told Minister Allicock that, “We want to let you know that you have our support in your deliberations. Represent us, fight for us and we are willing to support you. Show us that you are going to continue fighting for us and we are going to support you…We want to encourage you to push for us in Parliament and represent us, and once you continue doing that, you are going to get the Indigenous peoples support nationally.”

Toshao Fredericks thanked the government for its continued support to community development. He said that while, much more needs to be done, “the people are grateful for the projects being implemented that serve to enhance their livelihoods.” The Toshao also outlined several projects the village has crafted, to specifically target the youths in Shulinab and it satellite villages.

One such project is the production of coffee, that makes use of the large expanse of forested lands aback of the community. Fredericks explained that, “We are going back to our village and we will be replanting the coffee plant that was planted by our ancestors hundreds of years ago…So we have a lot of plans as to how do we connect back with our land? How do we use the natural resources that we have and traditional knowledge that we have?”

Toshao of Shulinab, Nicholas Fredericks.

The construction of a modern lodge in the Kanuku Mountains is also part of their tourism drive. Shulinab is the only Macusi community in the South Rupununi whose main economic activities are farming and cattle rearing.  The residents continue to maintain their culture through their language and way of life.

“If you look within our community, we have everything here. We have craft that we can do, tourism, agriculture. We can manufacture farine by the tons but it requires us to be committed, to be united. We have the human resources. We are not sick or unhealthy in Shulinab. We are strong, we have the land we have the resources it’s just a matter of coming together…We are the guardians of nature, we take care of the forest and the rivers as part of our way of life… We respect mother and we want to continue to care for mother nature so that it can continue to provide for us”, Toshao Fredericks pointed out.

The community also has one of the most long-standing youth groups in the Rupununi, and the Village Council has been working to ensure they are gainfully occupied.

During brief remarks, Minister Allicock reiterated that the government remined resolute on ensuring the Indigenous people’s development across Guyana. He commended the residents for organising themselves and developing projects that will aid in their economic development.

Minister Allicock urged them to create their own industries and actively work on securing markets for their produce. He also encouraged them to develop their Village Improvement Plan (VIP), as mandated, which will help to guide their community’s development.

A section of those gathered at the meeting at Shulinab, Region Nine .

 

By: Synieka Thorne

 

 

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