— residents rejoice at benefits in the making
Residents of Smith Creek, Mabaruma Sub-district, Region One, are eagerly waiting the commissioning of the Fish and Crab Processing facility to begin benefitting from market opportunities.
According to a release from the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Valerie Garrido-Lowe visited the facility last Thursday. Augustine Lackan, a resident related that villagers never envisaged such an economic project could have been established in their village. The facility will be completed this month.
“We never think this could happen and we just one way all the time because you know plenty times when people catch crab to sell in Kumaka, the market is the problem, but now we gon bring our crab here and they gon buy it and the fish is the same so this is very good. It will be a benefit for us and even our children with their schooling,” he said.
Several of the village’s menfolk have already begun benefitting from the project which created job opportunities during the establishment phase.
Villagers were paid to source lumber used on the facility and to transport sand and stones and other hardware. They also earned a daily income for working along with the skilled builder.
According to resident, Michael Williams, persons were also employed to construct a special dam around the facility to cater for the high tides since the water level would rise significantly during spring tide.
“The creek …will pull out the water from the trench which we will control by this koker so the water can’t lodge here and it will go so, and here always keep dry,” the resident said.
He said the project will positively impact residents’ spending power since they do not have “real work” and often rely on crab-catching and fishing for a living.
Jerry Bunbury, another villager who was a member of the land clearing team, said he and his family are already benefitting from the project.
Reynold Santiago, another villager and the sole breadwinner for his home, noted that the project is beneficial for him and his family.
He said too that in the future, when the project materialises, he will be supplying crab for processing at the facility.
Bernard Bowering, a father of eight, said the initiative will help him to better provide for his family in the long run.
The crab season is approaching and during this time, they are usually in abundance.
For decades selling fish and crab was the main economic earner for the close to 250 residents of Smith Creek, and today, they can boast about a facility which will ensure they add value to their catch.
This facility will be supported by neighbouring villages of Morawhanna and Imbotero and during the initial stages of planning. Minister Garrido-Lowe said these economic projects of establishing small industries in villages as a source of income generation are in keeping with the ministry’s objectives and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
Minister Garrido-Lowe, through the Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Ministry, has been able to successfully accomplish the undertaking.
“The APNU+AFC Government is of the view that every Guyanese deserves to live a good life. President Granger has a 10-Point plan for the hinterland and one of them is the ‘Hinterland Happy Household’ and with this project every family will be able to earn.
They will then be able to build better homes, furnish their homes and generally support their families like never before. The APNU+AFC Government is a Government for all our people, because we care,” she said.
Villagers said they are committed to seeing the project being fruitful and are looking forward to the support from all Guyanese once the product is available on the shelves of supermarkets across Guyana, similar to the Pakaraima Flavours and the Rupununi Essence.