[www.inewsguyana.com] – As Amerindian Heritage Month 2014 celebrations continue Head of State, Donald Ramotar, and First Lady Deolatchmee Ramotar, Amerindian Affairs Minister, Pauline Sukhai, and several other Cabinet members joined with residents of Karrau Village, Region Seven for the annual Heritage Village celebration.
The president and team were warmly welcomed to Karrau, which got its name from a bird, Karow.
On the occasion, the gathering was urged to reflect from whence they came with the aim of charting a course to deal with the challenges ahead.
“This month September, Amerindian Heritage month is one when you have to celebrate the achievements that we have made as a people. It’s a very important month for celebration and we should celebrate,” President Ramotar said.
“As you are aware over the centuries since Amerindians have been here, they have toiled and worked to preserve our environment and they have been most neglected by the colonial powers of this land for thousands of years.”
Head of State, Donald Ramotar, First Lady Deolatchmee Ramotar, Amerindian Affairs Minister Pauline Sukhai, Foreign Affairs Minister Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, Public Works Minister, Robeson Benn, Culture Youth and Sport Minister Dr Frank Anthony, Public Service Minister Jennifer Westford, Karrau Village Toshao, James Cornelius and others who participated in the Karrau Heritage village celebrations
President Ramotar also recalled that over the years very little was done to advance Amerindian development, and it was the same in the period of undemocratic rule as hardly anything was done to enhance their welfare.
It is for this reason; President Ramotar said this time should be used as a time to reflect.
“When we came to office, one of the things that challenged us, even before, was how we will raise the standard of living in Amerindian communities so that it will match in the coastland, how we can raise the standards so that we can make equal opportunities a reality, and not just a slogan.”
It is for this reason the President said the administration made the conscious decision that education is vital in this project to create opportunities and assist people in building capacity to ensure they all have an equal opportunity to contest for anything.
Reflecting on his own childhood and past, the President said it his own upbringing that pushed him towards the PPP/C. Coming from an Amerindian riverain community, President Ramotar said seeing the needs of his fellow countrymen and women led him to fight to ensure that they too enjoy equal opportunities.
“These are some of the things that drove me to politics and to fight for conditions to ensure our people have equal opportunities, that is one of the reasons you will see in our budget that the largest portion goes towards the social sector.”
President Ramotar added that the administration has over the years been placing emphasis on building the human capital, which is critical toward ensuring the development of the country at large. Reference was also made of the numerous initiatives that have been implemented under the current administration to ensure that Guyana achieves universal secondary education.
Over the years, primary, nursery and secondary schools have been constructed in hinterland communities, as well as health centers and other much needed infrastructure.
The President also pointed out to the gathering that while the administration continues in its effort to advance development, the political situation in the Parliament continues to be a stumbling block. Pointing to the cuts to the Amerindian Development Fund, University of Guyana Student loans, and hinterland airstrip rehabilitation, among others, the Head of State said these are just some of the challenges that the administration is facing.
He also spoke of the combined opposition’s non support for the Amaila Falls Hydro project which would ease a great burden off Guyanese when it comes to cheap energy. He told the gathering that the $9 Billion, which the administration spends annually to subsidise electricity, could be used for further developments across the country.
The Head of State also used the forum to announce that as per norm the administration will give $5 M to the village of Karrau having been selected as Heritage Village 2014 to embark on a developmental project of their choice. [Extracted and modified from GINA]