President Bharrat Jagdeo says that the administration’s support for Amerindian communities as part of the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) is a service but he hopes it will result in support during the next election.
Asked on Wednesday to respond to critics who say that his support of Amerindian communities is an effort to secure votes for his party at the next elections, Jagdeo said normally governments would engage in projects that would ensure they are re-elected.
“If governments are in office and if by doing things for people — all their people; Amerindians or people who live on the coast—enhances their chance of winning elections, isn’t that what is supposed to be?” he said at a press briefing at his office. He continued: “Shouldn’t governments come into office, want to do well so that people re-elect them? That is what should happen.
That’s a normal thing because if you come into office and don’t do anything for people then you should be thrown out.” According to Jagdeo, “if you do something for them, you’re hoping that they would see what you’ve done and then say let’s give these guys a second chance or a third chance… or more people would vote for you in the long run.
The idea is service, but service, hopefully, would bring support,” Jagdeo said.
The President said that if his government did not put aside some of the LCDS money to deal with Amerindian issues, the critics would have accused it of not being “inclusive.” Jagdeo has said that US$8 million of the first tranche of US$30 million from the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund set up with Norway will be used to benefit Amerindian communities
At the opening of the National Toshaos Council (NTC) in October, he explained that US$4 million would be used to accelerate the Amerindian land demarcation exercise, while approximately US$1.5 million would be used to purchase solar panels for every Amerindian home.
The rest of the money was to be used to fund activities arising from the council meeting, Jagdeo had said.
On Wednesday, Jagdeo spoke about the setting up of a grant fund for the transformation of a village economy in Amerindian communities.
Guyana is looking to access the first tranche deposited by Norway into the fund by next month.
Jagdeo recently complained that he had been expecting access to the funds for about a year now.