-vulnerable communities in Regions 3, 4, 6 and 10 being targeted
IN keeping with government’s promise of job creation, the Ministry of Housing and Water, on Monday, launched its $20 million pilot Community-based Employment Stimulation Project (CESP) in Tiger Bay.
The initiative, which is the brainchild of President Dr. Irfaan Ali, was conceptualised with the goal of creating block-making jobs in several vulnerable communities in four regions.
Of the project sum, $3.9 million has been set aside for the Tiger Bay community. In the coming months, the project will be expanded to include Albouystown, East Ruimveldt, West Ruimveldt, Sophia, Agricola, Mocha, Lusignan, and Buxton in Region Four, along with, Linden in Region 10, Canje in Region Six and a number of still-to-be determined communities in Region Three.
Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal, said the initiative is aimed at unemployment reduction and noted that block makers in the identified communities are strategically positioned to benefit from the CESP initiative, which is expected to create some 400 jobs.
He explained that with the construction sector taking off, this is a pivotal juncture for wealth expansion of persons in the construction chain, which includes block makers and suppliers.
“The construction sector as you know is taking off once again and the demands are many. Participation at this activity will allow those of you who are willing to make the commitment to become exposed to the world of work in a much more structured manner, become entrepreneurs for yourselves and better provide for your families. One such demand that I am alluding to is the demand for blocks,” Minister Croal said.
He highlighted that currently there is a market of demand for 123,000 blocks that will be used for the construction of houses being built by the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) in Cummings Lodge on the East Coast of Demerara and Prospect which us located on the East Bank corridor.
Further, he noted that the ministry has secured the commitment of 10 contractors to purchase the blocks produced through the CESP initiative.
The initiative, according to the ministry, comes not just as a job creation platform, but also a platform for the creation of new entrepreneurs in the block-making business.
Minister Croal indicated that the ministry will work to provide start-up support to those participating in the project.
“If you are not already a block maker or you have the skill and may have been working for someone, now is the time to become an entrepreneur; you have nothing to lose. The CH&PA will provide the support and the start-up materials, even credit and training and certification from the GNBS to ensure that the blocks you make meets the contractors’ demands. All you have to do is take up the challenge,” the minister told those gathered at the launching ceremony.
Meanwhile, Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water, Susan Rodrigues, stated that the aim of the government is to “teach its citizens to fish” so as to ensure that each person is equipped with adequate training and experience to ensure sustained earning as the economy develops.
“We don’t want to give you a fish, we want to teach you how to fish, we want to empower our people so that they can go out there and find employment or start their own business, so that they can enrich their own lives improve their own lives and that of their families. They don’t have to be dependent on government. We want to make you fully independent, but it is our responsibility as your leaders, as your government, to provide those opportunities for you to take advantage of,” said Minister Rodrigues.
Further, she noted that the ministry chose the most vulnerable communities because the government is cognisant of its commitment to improving the standard of living of all Guyanese regardless of race, religion or geographical location. She noted that the equitable distribution of wealth in Guyana is especially important to the government as the country’s economy continues to grow.
Minister Rodrigues also noted that the CESP provides a type of connected work environment that could only serve to improve the work ethics of those employed at the block-making organisations as they would have deadlines to meet for contractors and other persons purchasing blocks from their businesses.
“It’s not just about buying blocks from a block maker to supply a contractor. The programme addresses a softer issue of training and not just training in block-making skills but ensuring that we help in life coaching. A lot of vulnerable communities and people who live in vulnerable communities have been out of work for a very long time and sometimes it is difficult for them to even know what is their responsibility when they do have to go and work. They have to train themselves to have that discipline to be able to show up to work, to be able to participate meaningfully,” she added.