-Says Govt will ensure that Amerindians access opportunities available on the coast
Georgetown, Guyana—(September 2, 2022) His Excellency Dr Irfaan Ali reassured indigenous Guyanese that his Government will ensure that they are all included in the country’s development and benefit from its prosperity.
The Head of State made this avowal on Thursday evening during his keynote address at the Amerindian Heritage Cultural Extravaganza, held at the National Stadium to commemorate Amerindian Heritage Month celebrations this year.
“Tonight, I reassure every member of our indigenous community that we stand strongly with you in ensuring that our development path…will include you. Every one of you, every single family, every single region in our indigenous community, whether it’s in a riverine area, whether it’s on the hill or in the valleys, we will find you, we will work with you, and we will move you together as we build a country of prosperity for every single family.”
The month-long celebration is being held under the theme “Celebrating our traditional culture while building One Guyana”.
President Ali emphasised that development must benefit all equally, regardless of race, creed, or geographic location.
As such, he reminded that there is much to celebrate as Heritage Month festivities are ushered in, particularly the jobs created, the improved access to education as well as other investments made to improve the livelihoods of indigenous Guyanese.
He said that during his recent outreach in Region Nine, residents spoke about their needs, their aspirations and thanked the Government for returning more than 2000 jobs and for the numerous beneficial projects implemented.
“We have a responsibility. We have a responsibility to create an environment in which you can tell the story.”
INVESTMENTS TO GUARANTEE EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES
The President said too that his administration will make the necessary investments in every sector, including education, health, agriculture and infrastructure, among other areas to ensure that Amerindian communities equally access “every opportunity that is available” on the coast.
“We will make the investment to give you the bandwidth, to give you online education…every single Amerindian with a qualification that wants to be trained as a nurse, as a teacher, as a dental technician, as a medical worker, I am saying to you now, we are committing that we as a Government will train every single one of you; we will provide the opportunity, we will provide the money, we will provide an environment, and we will give you that opportunity.”
He also encouraged the nation’s first people not to be swayed away from their beliefs, their talent, their capacity, commitment, determination and strength of character to reach their fullest potential.
“We are working every day to secure your rights, to expand your freedom, to ensure you have active participation to build sustainability in your development plan.”
INVESTMENTS IN PEOPLE
The President reminded of the recent announcements made during his outreach to Deep South and Central Rupununi communities, including the massive housing initiative that will see $600m being invested by the Government in Region Nine.
“That is why we announced recently that we are going to back you to own your own homes. The Government will start by putting in the first $1m. The bank would provide an additional $2m at the lowest interest rate in our country, 3.5%. That is working with you. That is empowering you, that is giving you a future that will deliver to you prosperity.”
Youths, he added, will be integrally involved in the execution of the initiative by manufacturing the blocks for the construction of the homes.
“The best investment we can make as parents is investment in our children, and the best investment we can make as a Government, and as a country, is the investment in our people, and that is where we’re going to make the investment.”
Investments in people, he stressed, are equally as important to the country’s overall transformation.
“We are going to make the investment in the people so that transformation occurs not only physically by the roads, by the drains and the new buildings, but transformation occurs from within, from within each individually; each of us individually transforming ourselves, our thinking, our action, our relationship with each other and when we transform ourselves from within, individually then collectively, we will transform our communities and our country.”
The President urged those gathered at the stadium and at home to celebrate with confidence, knowing that their future will be better.
He stated that every person will be an equal partner in the development of our country and that, most importantly, the Amerindian community should celebrate in the confidence that they “are equal to anyone else, celebrate with the confidence that this Government is with you, for you and by you”.
In her remarks, the Minister of Amerindian Affairs, the Honourable Pauline Sukhai assured that the Government remains committed to preserving the Amerindian way of life and culture.
“This is the only country that has a Government that supports and promotes a full month filled with activities that seek to celebrate and to recognise the contribution of our indigenous tradition, knowledge and culture,” she said.
President Ali was joined by Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d), the Honourable Mark Phillips; other members of the Cabinet, members of the diplomatic community and indigenous leaders, among other invitees.
Last evening’s launch featured a rich depiction of the indigenous culture through songs, dance and spoken word.