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President Ali announces honey production project for Santa Mission

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The village of Santa Mission (Santa Aratak) situated in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), is poised for significant development, especially in the agriculture sector with President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali announcing a new honey production project in the community.

The president was conducting an outreach to the Amerindian community on Tuesday.

President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali speaking at the outreach on Tuesday

President Ali said the local honey production project will benefit from the support of the government.

The head of state’s vision for the village is to produce high-quality, well-packaged honey that would appeal to tourists.

“I want to see the best-packaged honey available here so when the tourists [visit] all of them can go back with two bottles of honey,” he said.

To kickstart the project, the president announced the establishment of a local committee and the provision of 25 beehives.

President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali engaging the residents of Santa Mission, Region Three

The government will also offer training and safety equipment to ensure successful honey production.

 “You didn’t ask for this. We brought this because we know what your needs are in expanding agriculture in this community,” The head of state underscored.

He distributed various agricultural equipment and plants to enhance production and promote self-sufficiency.

The coconut plants the community received on Tuesday

The items handed over included fifty bags of fertiliser, 50 bags of limestone, 500 coconut plants, 200 citrus plants, two chainsaws, two brush cutters, a fogging machine, a knackpack, as well as cutlasses, shovels, rakes, hoes, insecticides, and acoushi ant bait.

“In three years… between the 500 coconut trees that we will plant and the more than 200 citrus plants that we will plant,  I want to see eco-lodges.

“I don’t want to see in the next three years boat coming in with frozen chicken, I don’t want to see eggs coming in. I want t to see chicken, going out, citrus going out, dry coconut going out,” President Ali told the residents.

Meanwhile, President Ali also pledged government engagement with the forestry sector to explore avenues of assistance for residents. Logging is one of the main economic activities in the village.

Some of the citrus plants the community received

To further support the community, he announced the acquisition of a new 40-horsepower engine and a boat for the community’s use.

“I told the Toshao, let the boat right here and we are going to get the engine because we want to get this done as soon as possible,” he said. 

Additionally, a new well will be drilled to the tune of $19 million. The project, expected to commence next week, aims to enhance water access in the community.

“Not only that, I have asked GWI to come into the communities and work with the community on extending the water supply to give the pipe network and they are going to spend $10 million to extend the pipe network in the community,” he further revealed.

Over the past four years, the PPP/C Government has invested millions of dollars in Santa Aratak village. The community received $5 million through the ‘Because We Care’ cash grant for children. This equates to an investment of $125,000 per child over the years.

Addressing educational needs, the government responded to concerns about parents being asked to provide funds for learning aids by directly allocating $924,000 to schools in the last two years.

The government also allocated $17 million towards constructing sanitary facilities, maintaining teachers’ quarters, and undertaking essential repairs at the primary school. Some $9.5 million has been earmarked for ongoing maintenance and rehabilitation at Santa Mission Primary School in 2024.

Furthermore, residents benefitted from the installation of 75 solar home systems, equipped with a 3-kilowatt solar PV system and batteries at a cost of $4.4 million each. The village also befitted from $18 million under the Carbon Credit Fund initiative.  

In total, the government has disbursed over $36 million in old-age pension to pensioners, and $1,585,000 in old-age pension grants. Nearly $10 million in public assistance was also disbursed to vulnerable persons, while $3.4 million was for individuals with disabilities.

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