Community Development Officers (CDOs) were reminded to remain proactive in the respective indigenous villages and communities that they oversee.
This was emphasised on Wednesday by Vice President and Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock, during his address to the CDOs in the employ of the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs at a four-day workshop.
The four-day workshop concluded on Thursday at Moray House.
Minister Allicock said one must be mindful of persons who attempt to be a major hindrance to hinterland development. As leaders being an active participant in village welfare is critical towards achieving the Ministry and by extension the Governments goals, he added.
The Minister said, “Your job as Community Development Officers is to help in identifying issues and lobbying on their behalf, getting projects on stream and for us to work towards a better life for our people there.”
Minister Allicock proposed several ideas that can foster job creation and employment opportunities for the indigenous people. These include venturing into niche markets which are aimed at satisfying specific market needs.
Production of coffee, cassareep and semi-precious stones and other market demands, the Minister said, are attainable because “we have so many strengths that can be transformed. We have from Regions One to Ten, our varying areas of expertise. Tourism is going to be something of great importance to this country.”
Meanwhile, the Ministry is working to complete its Sustainable Development Framework which will better guide its programmes and Minister Allicock said “we hope to complete this shortly”.
The CDOs Workshop focused on achievements over the past year, completing an annual work plan, expectations for 2018, village audits and Village Council Elections which are due mid next year.
Reflecting on the past year, CDOs noted that despite the challenges much was accomplished, particularly in the area of infrastructural development which was made possible through the acquisition of presidential grants.
Villages ventured into sustainable business initiatives that aided job creation opportunities at home.
According to Alfred Fredericks who is responsible for 11 villages and communities in Central Rupununi, Region Nine, South, for the past seven years, “villages are developing in all fields. We have cattle, and food processing.
“They are doing well and recently Kumu came out there with a display so wonderful that it attracted people from overseas and that’s something very splendid that I admire.”
However, CDOs have expressed disappointment when representatives from sister Ministries and agencies are visiting their respective regions without their knowledge.
They are recommending that such information be shared so that they can be an active participant during visits.
Seventeen CDOs are employed by the Ministry and operate in all ten administrative regions.
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