IN just under two years, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) government has already expended close to $10 billion on developmental projects targeting various Amerindian communities.
Speaking at the 56th Independence Flag-Raising ceremony on Wednesday night, President Dr. Irfaan Ali highlighted the importance of catering for the enhancement of the lives of Guyana’s First Peoples in the country’s wider transformational plan.
“Our Amerindian brothers and sisters are our First Peoples and deserve the respect and honour of all. In pursuit of advancing their cause, in less than two years, we have invested close to $10 billion on the First Peoples of our country,” the Head of State said.
Of the $10 billion, more than $5 billion has been expended on supporting hinterland infrastructure to cater for economic expansion.
“I want you to see that we are expanding the commitment we made to the First Peoples because we are already ahead of what was promised in our Manifesto. We recognised the magnitude of investment that is required to uplift the lives of Amerindians and their communities, and we are investing beyond that commitment,” Dr. Ali said.
Living largely in the most remote communities in Guyana’s hinterland and riverine communities, Amerindians are considered to be disproportionately disadvantaged when compared with citizens on the coastland, and, as such, special attention and investments specific to the indigenous communities are required.
Due to the sparsity of population in some of the communities over the years, Amerindians have faced challenges with accessing education, healthcare and utilities.
However, more and more emphasis has been placed on creating an equitable system that benefits persons both in the hinterland and on the coastland.
“Every single region; every single group in this country will and must benefit from the prosperity that will come our way. Amerindian people should not be at a disadvantage; we must invest and create an even platform in which every child must have the same equitable access to the same future in the same country. That is the future we want,” President Ali noted in his remarks.
In the latest of measures that largely targets the Amerindian community, just a few weeks ago, the President announced that residents in riverine and hinterland communities across Guyana will be receiving a special $25,000 per household cash grant as part of measures being implemented to cushion the rising cost of living.
During his address, the President pointed to the building of infrastructure, and the upgrading of roads, particularly those connecting Regions Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) and Nine Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo), as a few of the examples of ways in which the government has been improving the lives of Amerindians, particularly those in the hinterland.
“This is the type of work your government has embarked on, not only to bring relief and bringing you benefits, but more importantly; far more importantly, to ensure that we create the opportunities that will have us live in a sustainable environment for the future.” Dr. Ali said.
The Head of State also noted the developments that have been made by the government in expanding the provision of potable water in the hinterland regions, thereby significantly increasing the coverage to reliable water by 60 per cent, and well on target to achieving 100 per cent by 2025.