Minister of Amerindian Affairs Pauline Sukhai recently hosted an outreach exercise in Region Nine in order to address residents’ concerns and inform them of development resources allocated to them.

According to a Government Information Agency (GINA) press release Sukhai and a team comprising Region Nine Community Development Officer Christopher Duncan, Regional Chairman Clarindo Lucas and Deputy Com-missioner at the Guyana Forestry Commission Tashreff Khan met with the residents, toshaos, village councillors and students of Parikwaru-nawa, Moco Moco, St Ignatius and Kaicumbay.

At Parikwarunawa, Sukhai told residents that from a total of 139 Amerindian communities, 97 have their titles and their lands are demarcated. However, she said “We still have miles to go with the remaining 42.” Sukhai also noted that government is open to granting extensions to lands.

In alluding to the Amerindian Act, the minister said it is a very important instrument for the leadership and success of communities. She also encouraged students to do their best at the Grade 6 exams and committed to building a new and modern for hinterland students. “In fact $50M has been allocated for this,” the minister said. The dormitory will be built in Georgetown. She said too that other than academic scholarships offered at the secondary and university levels, technical scholarships are also available for Amerindians to develop their skills and contribute to community development.

Meanwhile, Parikwarunawa residents voiced concerns about the toshao not collecting the village grant and water problems. GINA said the team addressed the water concerns.

At Moco Moco, the minister said as regard the ongoing school uniform project a vehicle was handed over to the CDO of South Rupununi, Christopher Duncan to provide better services to villages. “Our ministry is actually trying to strengthen our linkages down here with various villages through improving the transportation for CDOs who are our first link with the people,” she said. As regard the community’s commitment to agricultural activities, Sukhai encouraged the residents to take advantage of the opportunities that will become available when the Takutu Bridge starts operation. Also, in response to queries about obtaining birth certificates Sukhai said her ministry and the Home Affairs ministry has to boost its efforts in this regard.

A St. Ignatius resident said a project which was generated by the President’s grant in her community was poorly managed and eventually resulted in its discontinuation. In response the minister advised that “If the Council feels overburdened sometimes with all these projects and they have to look after their farms and families, they can bring on board committees that will run with one project and run with another while they are the supervising bodies that will oversee what is going on.”

Meanwhile, at Kaicumbay, Sukhai urged the village leader to uplift the Presidential grant and to be more aggressive in pursuing community development. Both Sukhai and Duncan encouraged the toshao and the meeting to share their ideas for sustainable projects so that the village could move forward. The minister also donated a sewing machine to the women of Kaicumbay.

Prior to visiting these four communities Sukhai visited Nappi and a satellite community, Parishara, also in Region Nine, GINA said.

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