By Fareeza Haniff
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Approximately 2,000 Amerindian youths are on the breadline, following the $1.1B allocation to the Amerindian Development Fund that was cut from the 2014 Budget by the combined Opposition.
This is according to Central Committee member of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and Region Nine representative, Brian Allicock during a press conference on Monday, April 14.
Allicock described the action of the Opposition as heartless, as he debunked allegations that the monies were being used to recruit youths for the PPP and its youth arm – the Progressive Youth Organisation (PYO).
When questioned, Allicock told reporters that 2,000 Amerindian youths are being directly affected, as the various village councils were waiting for the budgetary allocation to be approved to pay the youths.
The Region Nine representative explained that at no time under his control did he use any of the budget money to recruit youths to serve the interest of the PPP.
In refuting the allegations, he noted that the youths are involved in management committee development, planning, providing much more needed assistance to the Toshoas and councils of Amerindian Villages.
“Among the programmes that are now affected by the opposition negative vote are: the secure livelihood initiative in Region one, annual Subvention to the Bina Hill Institute – this has been ongoing for years – grants to 10 villages to support eco-tourism projects and $200 million which goes annually to Toshoas who decide what initiatives they have been tasked by the villagers to pursue.”
According to Allicock, “It is hypocritical that the Opposition, which claims that our young people have no jobs, would so callously deny 2000 Amerindian Youths jobs in their own communities. Instead of contributing to the building of human and social capital in their respective Villages, these young people will now be forced to leave their families and seek opportunities elsewhere thereby compromising their village development.”
The combined Opposition – A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance for Change (AFC) had expressed concern over “the abuse of the fund” by the government for political purposes. The American MPs claimed that the programme was being used to manipulate Amerindians and urge the administration to take their concerns on board as well.
The two parties said they decided not to support the funding without the assurance that the programme is on a sound, non – political, education foundation.