Minister of Amerindian Affairs Pauline Sukhai, on Tuesday evening, blasted the APNU/AFC Members of Parliament for voting against millions of dollars allocated in this year’s budget towards providing relief for hinterland residents.
In an interview with DPI and with support of other Amerindian MPs on the Government side of the House, Minister Sukhai labelled the move as a travesty and an embarrassment, especially considering the fact that the nation is observing Amerindian Heritage Month.
“It is indeed a travesty that the APNU/AFC Members of Parliament can vote against $845 million intended to bring relief to the Amerindian residents and villagers; a relief that is much needed because over five years, the APNU/AFC Government had stifled the growth and development of Amerindians,” the Minister posited.
During the consideration of the estimates for the Amerindian Community Development and Empowerment programme under the Amerindian Affairs Ministry, the APNU/AFC MPs called for a division and they lost the vote.
Sukhai explained that the APNU/AFC MPs voted against the capital budget in the sum of $845 million. This sum was budgeted for equipment to support agriculture, youth development, the reinstatement of the Community Support Officers project, transport; which includes procuring of ATVs and pickup trucks for Amerindian villages.
According to Sukhai, the sum also catered the projects that are sustainable and are aimed at ensuring that villages get back some investment funds.
“They voted against the tourism projects, they voted against the economic and productive projects, and they voted against 213 Amerindians villages; attempting to deny their increased Presidential Grant funding,” Sukhai said in disgust at the action of the APNU/AFC MPs.
According to Sukhai, under the APNU/AFC Government, the economic livelihoods of Amerindians was destroyed.
“They (APNU/AFC) have denied Amerindian agricultural support, they have denied school children of their cash grants and fuel subsidies from getting to schools”.
“That was their last opportunity to vote for the budget and they chose to vote against it,” she expressed in disappointment.