Minister Sukhai outlines plans for Amerindian development in 2023

Amerindian, remote, and riverine communities are set to benefit from various developmental projects that will be driven by the government through the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs (MOAA) in 2023.

Amerindian Affairs Minister Pauline Sukhai while engaging with residents of Kaburi, Region Seven and Aliki in Region Three outlined some of the projects that will come onstream next year.

ICT and Internet connectivity

One hundred ICT hubs have already been established in communities to cater for internet connectivity; however, the government is facing difficulties in sourcing a provider that will deliver internet connectivity to these villages.

Amerindian Affairs Minister, Pauline Sukhai, MP

“The local providers like E-networks, Inet, they’re limited […] we have to find a provider that will provide enough, strong, bandwidth that will be able to connect every village so that when more than five or a dozen people go on, it does not break down or it does not buff, it will work,” Minister Sukhai explained.

Two hundred and twelve (212) ICT hubs are expected to be completed by next year. Minister Sukhai is, however hopeful, that by 2023 most of the communities with ICT hubs will be connected to the internet.

“It’s a work in progress, I believe in 2023, all the facilities, 212 facilities are expected to be completed and by then, we expect also, that most of them will be connected. So, we’re keeping our fingers crossed as a government too, that the negotiations, the search for a provider is going to happen soon.”

The aim is to have 211 communities connected to the internet by the end of 2025.

Amerindian leaders are urged to utilise the monies that their villages were allocated towards the construction of ICT hubs.

Capacity building

Community Support Officers (CSOs) will benefit from continuous training as the government aims to enhance the knowledge and skillsets of every Guyanese, in preparation for the ‘new’ Guyana.

Already, 55 CSOs graduated from garment construction and small engine repairs at the Bina Hill Institute Research Centre in Region Nine.  CSOs from Regions One and Seven will be receiving training in these skillsets as the programme is being rolled out.

The ministry will be providing materials for persons interested in garment construction and also funds for the construction of facilities.

“We’re giving them between $1.5 million to $2 million possibly to build their sewing centres if they do not have a section of a building in which they can use,” the minister added.

More than 160 CSOs were trained in computer literacy to complement the CT hubs that have been and will be established; Minster Sukhai believes these persons must train residents in their communities.

“We expect that every community across the country should become computer literate and when the connectivity is connected, that they can use the internet efficiently so that information, training, production, marketing and everything that you need can be at your hand reach,” she noted.

Preserving culture

In an effort to preserve the Amerindians’ heritage, the government will be funding several cultural groups in the new year. Minister Sukhai reminded during the interview that Guyana has six races and it is important for Amerindians to be knowledgeable about their culture.

“You go to many communities and the culture is either not there or refined, there’s nothing cultural. So, we want to ensure that according to the Act we also support the cultural development of the people… Our language and our culture make us what we are. It identifies us and so we will be supporting a few groups next year when the budget pass,” she revealed.

Solar power

In keeping with its commitment to improving the livelihoods of persons living in the hinterland and remote communities,the solar power programme will be rolled out in these communities.

We’re expecting that more than 30,000 solar panels, complete units with accessories will be received sometime in the first quarter in the next year and we’ll roll that out. Riverine communities will benefit, Amerindian communities will benefit, hinterland areas that don’t get electricity will get solar power.

The much-anticipated revision of the Amerindian Act of 2006 is expected to take off in the new year as well.

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