Minister of Amerindian Affairs Pauline Sukhai encouraged the youth from several Region Nine communities to assume leadership roles to drive their communities’ development, in her address at the Annual August Games.
“I say to the young people, you are the leaders of tomorrow and your leadership will be very necessary in addressing the concerns and the development of your village and the future course of your village,” the minister said, in her remarks to the Maruranau community in the Deep South Rupununi in Region Nine over the weekend.
Sukhai commended the past community leaders for ensuring that the games, which started over a decade ago, continued, according to a report from the Government Information Agency (GINA). The games ensure that sport for young people remains on the development agenda for communities. Reports from Community Support Officers (CSOs) inform this programme which also facilitates opportunities for job creation, capacity building and strengthening individual interests and skills. The minister pointed out that the programme has been successful in regions One and Eight and particularly in Region Nine. “We really appreciate the contribution that the CSOs have been providing to the various village councils,” she said.
The CSOs have been controversial as the opposition has charged that they are doing political work on behalf of the PPP/C. Funding for this project was not approved by the opposition in this year’s budget.
The minister also presented a cheque valued $200,000 to Maruranau’s Toshao to offset costs incurred as the host village of the annual games, including the cost of trophies for the winning football team. Villagers including from Parabara, Maruranau, Karaudaranau, Awarenau, Shea, Achiwib, Aishalton and Masekenari also participated in volleyball, cricket, cycling, paddle boating, swimming and athletics.
Additionally, the minister also visited the near-completed community benab, which is a project funded via the Presidential Grant. She also toured the Wapishiana Language Institute where she was presented with a Scholar’s Dictionary and Grammar of the Wapishiana language. The dictionary was in 2009 presented as part of a package to the Walter Roth Museum of Anthropology. It was compiled as part of a project funded by the Inter-American Development Bank, GINA said.