[www.inewsguyana.com] – Minister of Indigenous People’s Affairs, Sydney Allicock and Minister in the Ministry, Valerie Garrido-Lowe, have disclosed that one of their main focus areas would be the empowerment of indigenous women and youths.
After being sworn in by President David A. Granger on Friday at the Office of the President, the ministers spoke to the Government Information Agency (GINA), pledging their commitment to the development of the country’s first people, the Amerindians.
Minister Allicock said he is hopeful that Toshaos (Amerindian Leaders) would be elected in June, and that long outstanding issues would be dealt with thereafter. Priority would be jobs, he said, noting that with the rapid growth of the indigenous population and the shortage of teachers, youths are now moving on to neighbouring countries.
The Minister pointed out too that tourism, agriculture, handicraft and community based farming would be addressed. These, he explained, could enable stronger family units.
The Indigenous People’s Affairs Minister noted that the effect of mining on Indigenous communities would another priority. This, he pointed out, would ensure the consideration of previous arrangements, and would include dialogue and education. The effects, he explained, include broken families and drug addiction among others. He noted that a constructive programme for the people in the interior is needed.
Meanwhile, Minister Garrido- Lowe was very enthusiastic in speaking of her interest in the empowerment of the youths and women in Amerindian communities especially those who are in remote locations. She said that many of these people are not given the opportunity to excel because they cannot afford to travel to the coastland to gain experience or develop skills, and it is her belief that skills can be taught to them in their own comfort zones, which are their communities.
The Minister also pointed out that in the past she started training programmes for women in some of these communities. These also provide a means for income generation as some of them have even gone into the food business.
Further, she added that in 2014, she also worked with some indigenous youths in the area of fashion. Another area high on the ministry’s agenda is land titling and demarcation.