The People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) on Friday blasted the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government for what it said is its blatant neglect of the Indigenous peoples of Guyana.
Member of Parliament (MP) and former Amerindian Affairs Minister, Pauline Sukhai, said since the new Administration took office just over 15 months ago, there has been little progress seen in the lives of Amerindians, particularly the youth. She spoke of the disbanding and cancellation of several beneficial projects for Amerindian students and questioned the reason behind Government’s move to do this.
Her comments followed inquiries from the media on whether the PPP was pleased with the way it left the communities back in 2015, and if it should be criticising the current Administration for its move to distribute shoes to Amerindian students.
But Sukhai said there cannot be a comparison between the work the previous Administration did and what is currently being done by the APNU/AFC Government.
“What is alarming is the fact that the PPP/Civic Government was in the process and had been giving minibuses and pickups, and boats and other forms of transport to assist children to access education in and out of their communities. Today there is a total turnaround,” the MP stated.
Sukhai said the only item students are receiving is a few boots and it is not even being given to every child of every community.
“We could point to the dismantling of the land titling unit and the dismissal of the Project Coordinator, Associate, and the CDP Project Coordinator… We saw the discrimination against the youth, the dismantling of the Young Entrepreneurship Programme which was replaced with a less effective programme, HEYS.”
She said what was more disturbing is that the Minister had assured villages that the new programme would have been much better than the previous programme.
Meanwhile, fellow Member of Parliament and former Head of the National Toshaos Council, Yvonne Pearson said at this point in time, and with the upcoming Indigenous Heritage Month set for September, persons are already asking what will be there be to celebrate.
Joining in on the conversation also was the Party’s Chief Whip Gail Teixeira, who said that while the PPP Government does not boast reducing poverty to zero during its tenure, it was able to do significantly well enough to improve the lives of persons living in the hinterland region. She said when the Party left office in 2015, there was water, lights and every village had a nursery and primary school. “But the process did not end, not in Guyana, nor in the Amerindian villages.”
What happened, she said, was that Indigenous peoples were able to have greater access to opportunities offered to every Guyanese who live on the coastland. She said the PPP would be willing to fully support any venture the Government would take to improve the lives of the Amerindians.