Black tanks, agricultural support, other measures to bolster South-Central Rupununi villages

President Dr Irfaan Ali interacting with residents. (Photo: Office of the President/ March 29, 2024)

Tanks will also be distributed to households in Katu’ur to ease their water woes.

Other concerns related to education, infrastructure and potable water access were brought to the forefront, and the president promised that these issues will be addressed.

In his initial remarks, the president also shed light on a suite of initiatives that have empowered indigenous communities with improved access to essential services.

“We will stand equally in defence of every citizen of this country. That is why in the three years, we have not only brought back the 2,000 CSO workers and rehired them, but we have hired hundreds of part-time workers additionally at $40,000 per month,” the president affirmed.

He continued, “We do this…because we understand the value of opportunity. Your communities lag behind not because you are inferior, but because you never had the opportunity and today we are giving you that opportunity.”

He said that over the last three years and a half, some $1 billion has been invested in the South-Central Rupununi, spanning a range of sectors, including education and health.

More training opportunities for lucrative careers are available to residents in these villages, while relief measures offer access to improved quality of healthcare.

“Three years ago, we didn’t have the opportunities that we have today…that every young lady and woman here can now collect a voucher for the government and be tested for cervical cancer free of cost. We are investing in the machines so that you can get your treatment right here in Guyana,” the head of state pointed out.

The residents at Region Nine that were gathered at the community outreach. (Photo: Office of the President/ March 29, 2024)

He spoke of the equally instrumental dialysis grant, which provides hemodialysis patients with $600,000 annually to offset the cost of their treatment.

Meanwhile, the government’s Solar Home Systems Project is also making headway in these communities, as 919 solar home units have been distributed thus far.

“In renewable energy, the household solar units, we have spent, in these South-Central Communities, almost $230 million. In health, in these communities alone, we have spent close to $180 million. In education, we have spent close to $255 million…in Amerindian Affairs, we have spent almost $294 million. For the first time, because of your support for the LCDS, we were able to transfer to your communities almost $120 million directly into your bank account,” the president underscored.

Several Toshaos praised the government’s recent interventions.

They highlighted a number of initiatives unfolding in their respective communities, made possible with their allocated funds from the Carbon Credits initiative.

The projects range from improvements in transportation infrastructure, advancements in information and communication technology (ICT), and investments in overall infrastructure development. All of these initiatives are expected to generate revenue, create jobs, and promote sustainability within the villages.

Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal, Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat, and regional officials were also present at the engagement.