Smith Creek Fish and Crab Processing Facility – a life changing initiative

DPI, Guyana, Saturday, March 9, 2019

Residents of Smith Creek, Mabaruma Sub-district, Barima-Waini, Region One, are eagerly awaiting the commissioning of the Fish and Crab Processing facility so that they can begin to benefit from market opportunities.

During a visit to the facility on Thursday by Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Valerie Garrido-Lowe, Augustine Lackan a resident related that the villagers never could have envisaged such an economic project being established in their village.

“We never thought this could happen… many times when people catch crab to sell in Kumaka the market is a problem, but now we are going to bring our crab here and they will buy it and the fish is the same. So, this is very good. It will be a benefit for us and our children with their schooling.”

Several of the village’s menfolk have already begun benefitting from the project since it would have created job opportunities. Villagers were paid to produce sawn lumber used on the facility, transporting sand and stones and other hardware as well as earning a daily income for working along with the skilled builder.

According to a resident, Michael Williams, residents were also employed to construct a special dam around the facility to cater for the high tides since the water level would significantly rise during spring tide.

He explained that “the creek there will pull out the water from the trench which we will control by this koker so the water can’t lodge here and it will go and here always will be kept dry”.

Speaking about potential spending power the villagers will soon have, Williams noted, that, “this will be good for the village because we really depending on it …so if the crab and fish could be caught and sold and we earn from that, this is good.”

Jerry Bombury another villager who was a member of the land clearing team said, “this will be a really good opportunity for me because I have children going to school and a job right here to catching and selling crabs will let me work and support them so they can get an education. This will be a real help to me and my family.

He further added “…I want to thank the Minister for being a real help you know, travelling from that place to this place here and for making us comfortable because if she hadn’t come here and made sure we had this project in our community we would have been the same without nothing.”

Residents related that while they are currently hunting crabs, the season is approaching and they will be in abundance. Numerous holes were visible in close proximity to the facility indicating the presence of crabs and according to residents, once the crab season sets in, crabs will be everywhere what in layman’s terms is referred to as “crab marching”.

For decades selling fish and crab was the main economic earner for the close to 250 residents of Smith Creek, and today they can boast about a facility which will ensure they add value to their catch.

The facility will be supported by neighbouring villages of Morawhanna and Imbotero. Minister Garrido-Lowe said these economic projects of establishing small industries in villages as a source of income generations were in keeping with the Ministry’s objectives and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Minister Garrido-Lowe, through the Ministry, has been able to successfully accomplish this undertaking and according to her, “The APNU+AFC Government is of the view that every Guyanese deserves to live a good life. President Granger has a 10-Point plan for the hinterland and one of them is the “Hinterland Happy Household” and with this project, every family will be able to earn. They will then be able to build better homes, furnish their homes and generally support their families like never before. The APNU+AFC Government is a Government for all our people because we care.”

Meanwhile, villagers say they are committed to seeing this project to completion and are anticipating the support of all Guyanese once the product is available on the shelves of supermarkets across Guyana, similar to the Pakaraima Flavours and the Rupununi Essence.

The facility will be completed this month.

Similar economic projects are being executed in Kwebanna and Santa Rosa in Region One, Paruima Region Seven and Paramakatoi and Monkey Mountain in Region Eight.

Aletha Grant.

Images: Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affairs.

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