Shoring up kitchen gardens, putting food on the table
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Toshao of Hotoquai village, Owen Singh
Toshao of Hotoquai village, Owen Singh

— residents in hinterland and riverine communities putting COVID-19 cash grant to good use

THE $25,000 cash grant being given out specifically to hinterland and riverine communities is going a long way in bringing relief to households in those parts of Guyana.

Others are using the grant to help to invest in aspects of their small businesses such as farming. This was according to some leaders from the hinterland communities, who commended the assistance that has been given to the residents.

“We welcome it; we welcome the $25,000 cash grant, we want to thank the government of Guyana for looking into our needs in times of hard times. It has come in a way that we really appreciate it. As the toshao speaking on behalf of my village, that is one of my priority to bring development to my community and with the cash grant it help us a lot,” said Orlayne Williams, Toshao of Malali village in Region 10.

Distribution of the grant has not yet commenced in Williams’ village, but he, nonetheless said that the villagers are eagerly awaiting the distribution so that they can put it to use in improving their lives.

“In our community, we do logging and logging is not that you sell today and get tomorrow, you have to work and then sell. So the cash grant it will help the family to put food on the table, while they wait and that is a lot,” Williams related in a recent interview with the Guyana Chronicle on the sidelines of the National Toshao Council (NTC) Conference at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre in Liliendaal.

Though Region 10 has not yet received its grant, distribution has already commenced in some parts of Region One. In Hotoquai village, residents have already received their grants.

VERY HELPFUL
“The people in my community are using it to purchase mostly food stuff and it’s helpful. They are purchasing mostly household food but some other people are using it to improve their farms at their homes as well,” said Owen Singh, Toshao of Hotoquai village.

He noted that COVID-19 has increased unemployment in his community, thereby putting a lot of families on the bread line. In light of this, he said assistance from the government is a big help to families.

“At least I could say that this is a good initiative for my people because in this crisis there’s not so much employment and that cash grant will assist them with their needs,” he said.

First announced in May by President, Dr. Irfaan Ali, the cash grant initiative sees every household in hinterland and riverine communities receiving $25,000 as a welfare measure to assist them to deal with the rising cost of living caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The situation caused by the pandemic has been further exacerbated by the Russia/Ukraine War.

Guyana’s riverine and hinterland communities are often disproportionately affected by economic hardships and lack of resources due to their remoteness and are often given special attention and consideration when it comes to welfare measures.

The household cash grant is part of measures being financed by the $5 billion that was set aside in the 2022 national budget to cushion the rising cost of living.

This measure is expected to put an additional $800 million in disposable income back into the hands of ordinary Guyanese and will add to the other plethora of welfare measures the government has implemented over the past three years to bring relief to Guyanese.

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