Oct 15, 2019 News
Executive member of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), Mervin Williams, has presented a reason for the delay in the distribution of the Indigenous People’s funds.
Williams, who was at the time speaking at the PNCR’s weekly Friday ‘Press Briefing’, was keen to note that there was no deliberate delay in the payment of the grants.
The executive member said that some of the Amerindian villages are extremely remote and the recipients would still have to travel to the city to negotiate the cheques at the banks.
However, considering that the Indigenous leaders of the communities were present at the recently concluded National Toshao’s Council Conference (NTC), which was hosted in Georgetown, he stated that he saw it as an opportune time for the funds to be collected.
He explained, “We have capitalised on the presence of the leaders in the city to hand over the cheques so that they could use the banking system at no expense to the village.
“When they get back home, they have 100% of the grant available for the developmental project that they had in mind.”
Williams said that the grants that were handed out on Thursday were those that were not granted earlier in the year.
“It was just a small component of the total package,” he added.
He added that some villages have been saving the grants from one year to the next to complete projects that could not be funded by one grant.
“Like in the Rupununi, they have embarked on an ecotourism venture and they have saved up three years worth of grants to make the successful completion of the venture. It includes a construction of a road, several benabs and kitchens,” the executive member said.
The Presidential Grant is one of the major interventions being undertaken by the Government of Guyana aimed at boosting economic and social development for Indigenous People in the respective villages and communities.
Villages and communities receive specific sums, which range from $500,000 to $2 million according to population size.
The allocation of grants commenced in October 2007 with a total of $150 million allocated towards meeting the social and economic needs of 139 Amerindian communities.
Over $34 million in Presidential Grant was presented to Toshaos.
The Minister of Indigenous People’s Affairs and Vice President, Sydney Allicock, along with the Minister within the Minister within the Ministry, Ms. Valerie Garido-Lowe, presented the cheques to 25 village Toshaos during the recently concluded National Toshao’s Council Conference.
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