Major enhancement for Mainstay/Whyaka
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One of the cultural items on show during the Mainstay/Whyaka Amerindian Heritage Village Day 2022 celebrations, on Saturday (Office of the President photo)
One of the cultural items on show during the Mainstay/Whyaka Amerindian Heritage Village Day 2022 celebrations, on Saturday (Office of the President photo)

— over $450M awarded in contracts for construction of Mainstay/Whyaka and Capoey access roads
— $3M set aside to boost water-treatment facilities

MAJOR development is in store for the residents of the Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) community of Mainstay/Whyaka, with the award of $450 million in contracts for road-enhancement works and $3 million to boost water-treatment facilities.

The community was made aware of those developments by President, Dr Irfaan Ali, who joined an enthusiastic and jubilant crowd of people at Mainstay/Whyaka on Saturday for the Amerindian Heritage Village Day 2022 celebration.

Amidst the festival of cuisine, colours, music and a diverse display of culture and heritage, President Ali interacted with people at the Village Day that is part of the calendar of activities for Amerindian Heritage Month 2022, observed this year under the theme: “Celebrating our Traditional culture while building One Guyana.”

He was accompanied by a team of cabinet ministers, including Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai; Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond; Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr Ashni Singh; Minister of Local Government, Nigel Dharamlall; Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hugh Todd; several government officials, members of the diplomatic corps including the High Commissioner of Canada, Mark Berman; President of the United Nations General Assembly, Abdulla Shahid and Ambassador of the European Union (EU), Rene Van Nes and other regional representatives.

President, Dr. Irfaan Ali in conversation with President of the United Nations General Assembly, Abdulla Shahid, on Saturday, during the Mainstay/Whyaka Amerindian Heritage Village Day 2022 celebrations (Office of the President photo)

President Ali in his feature address, reassured attendees of the government’s commitment to serving the people of Guyana and to ensure equitable development in local communities; this is the hallmark of national transformation.

He went on to note that the government remains resolute on fulfilling its commitments to the people of the community, while working towards investing in creating opportunities for every Guyanese to benefit from the country’s economic sectors.

President Ali said too that it is integral to recognize that there is a single principle that underpins the people of the nation and that is, humanity.
“When we understand that we all come from that single thread of humanity, we will understand that any difference that anyone seeks to bring between us is not part of that thread,” said President Ali, adding: “We must believe that there is no difference among us and should be no difference among us; regardless of where you live, how you look or how you feel and that is why, there is only one common approach and one common destination that belongs to us as Guyanese and that is embodied in the concept of One Guyana.”

President Ali told the gathering that the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) government has made several critical investments aimed at bolstering development throughout Region Two as well as the Mainstay/Whyaka community.

Among those investments, there has been the introduction of several community-oriented jobs and the roll out of training programmes to enter the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) and the Guyana Police Force.
Additionally, an estimated total of over $450 million has been awarded in contracts for the construction of the Mainstay/Whyaka main access road and the Capoey road that will boost transportation for residents in the community.

President Ali said that the community will also see enhanced food-production systems from the two new aquaculture marine cages, the first of its kind in Guyana that will support enhancing the local aquaculture sector. There are also initiatives in place to expand the pineapple-production systems and further advance existing tourism products to make the sector more sustainable.

The President then handed over a cheque of $3 million to the Toshao of Mainstay/Whyaka, Yvonne Pearson, for the enhancement of water-treatment facilities.
Dr Ali related that it is important to advance technological innovation and resilience in local sectors such as agriculture and as such, there will be new development projects targeting particularly young people in the region, and this is in addition to the Guyana Online Academy of Learning (GOAL) initiative.

NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN
President Ali shared that, at the moment, the government is also working on a national development plan to strengthen every local community and since access to energy is important, there will be a new project that will see 30,000 new household solar units in the communities.

In his closing remarks, President Ali said Guyana remains grateful for the tremendous contributions, sacrifices and hard work of the Amerindian peoples that is key to the development story of the country.
“Let us today reflect on the great contributions. The sacrifices and the strength of their character. Let us reflect on the important role they play in promoting culture and safeguarding an important part of who we are as Guyanese,” the President said.

Meanwhile, Minister Sukhai, in her speech, remarked that the day signifies the tremendous progress Guyana’s first peoples have made throughout the years, and that the government continues to invest in the development and respect of the first peoples of the nation.

Toshao Pearson expressed joy that the celebrations have returned after a two-year hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The word Whyaka means first people in this place. So, when the Amerindian ancestors came they name the place,” Pearson said.

She went on to highlight the rapid community development in sectors such as agriculture, education, health and tourism, which has occurred in recent times.
“We the people of Mainstay are looking forward. We are looking towards prosperity,” Pearson said.

In addition to this, Regional Chairperson for Region Two, Vilma DaSilva, said that the tremendous progress that has been taking place in the over 200 Amerindian communities across Guyana is providing a pathway to transform Guyana by building human capacity and providing people with opportunities to serve within their own communities.

Furthermore, Chairman of the National Toshaos Council (NTC), Derick John, related that it is an opportune time to work together in unity as one people under the stewardship of the government to build local communities and a better country.
Shahid also expressed his honour to be able to celebrate the multiculturalism, diversity and cultural heritage at the event that exemplifies part of his mandate to serve and support unity in communities.

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