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$54M in presidential, sport development grants delivered to 48 Region Nine villages

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– at Regional Toshaos Conference in Lethem

Indigenous villages continue to benefit from government investments as $54 million in Presidential and Sport Development Grants were disbursed to 47  villages across Region Nine on Friday.

The presentation of the cheques took place at the Indigenous Peoples’ Conference Hall in Lethem by the Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai during the RDC- Regional Toshaos Conference.

Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai

A total of 14 villages received Presidential Grants while 33 villages received $1 million to foster sport development.

Some $21 million in PGs and $33 million in sport grants were disbursed.

In 2023, the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs disbursed around $947.6 million to indigenous villages and communities during 2023; it has now commenced for 2024.

In her keynote address, Minister Sukhai reiterated the government’s open-door policy to partner with Amerindian villages. She emphasised that Amerindian development is a key focus of the PPP/C Administration.

“We are a lead in consultation, partnering and engaging with indigenous people…The PPP:C Government continues to partner, and we see it as critical to engage our people, our own nation,” she underscored.

She added, “No matter what ethnic group we come from, our government is an engaging government. If we have to build a road, we have to do consultation…[so that] the people are aware of what is happening.”

The Amerindian Affairs Minister also emphasised the importance of guaranteeing government investments are realised so that these developments can have a positive impact on their respective villagers.

Like in Region Eight, she encouraged new leaders to work in the best interest of the people and to always abide to the principle of consultation.

Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Sonia Parag

Toshaos were also informed that more than $1 billion is expended yearly to support youths in employment and training opportunities.

Investments are also being funneled in these villages through the Amerindian Development Fund (ADF) and other capital projects.

Sonia Parag, the Minister of Local Government and Regional Development also apprised leaders on the capital projects that will be undertaken by the Ministries of Public Works, Agriculture and Local Government and Regional Development.

Meanwhile, Chairman Toshao Derrick John reminded leaders of their critical role in the National Toshaos Council (NTC), the legal representative for indigenous people.

He affirmed the body’s readiness and preparedness to work together to advance their development

The two-day conference, organised by the RDC, revolves around the theme ‘Good Governance through Collaboration, Consultation & Communication.

Toshaos from the five sub-districts in Region Nine convened for the Regional Toshaos Conference in Lethem

Brian Allicock, the Regional Chairman, Karl Singh, the Regional Executive Officer (REO), along with representatives from the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI), Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA), health, agriculture, and public works are attending the conference.

This is in preparation for the National Toshaos Council (NTC) Conference tentatively scheduled for August.

Approximately 254 leaders will convene at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC) for a five-day engagement with President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali and government ministers responsible for various sectors.

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