[www.inewsguyana.com] – Residents from communities in the North Pakaraimas were yesterday reminded of the importance of keeping their culture alive as President Donald Ramotar declared the first ever North Pakaraimas festival expo opened.
The two-day event is being hosted by the residents of Kurukubaru, Region Eight, and will feature booths from the various communities in the North Pakaraimas showcasing their produce. The communities will also be competing in football, archery and cricket.
President Ramotar who delivered the feature address noted his government’s commitment towards improving the lives of residents in hinterland communities while simultaneously promoting sustainable livelihood.
The Head of State told the gathering that it is always heartwarming for him to visit Amerindian communities having come from Amerindian ancestry himself.
The PPP/C administration over the years has done a lot in preserving the Amerindian culture while striking the balance in developing the communities and its people by bringing them on par with the rest of the country.
“When the PPP was in government first in 1950 we introduced the Hinterland Scholarship Programme and since we came back to government in 1992 we started to expand on that, and we have been building schools in the interior.”
Mention was made of the Kato Secondary school which is under construction that will house over 400 students and which carries dormitories, and a new primary school recently commissioned in Paramakatoi.
The Head of State who noted that owing to the many interventions by the government, a significant number of hinterland children now have access to both primary and secondary education.
He added that in an effort to afford hinterland students the opportunity to gain a University of Guyana degree, the government is working collaboratively with the university to develop online courses. While this initiative is in the making, the President said the administration is putting in the necessary framework to facilitate it.
Already the Administration has begun construction of computer hubs in hinterland communities as efforts are being made to source solar panel to power them. It is also with this in mind that the One Laptop Per Family initiative is being extended to hinterland communities.
President Ramotar said that the government has also been placing emphasis on capacity building in hinterland communities as through the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) programme many communities have benefitted from initiatives that will boost economic activities.
As the second phase of the LCDS programme rolls out more than 150 communities stand to benefit.
Meanwhile the President also used the opportunity to bring the residents, who came out in their numbers, up to speed on the current parliamentary situation, which is facing Guyana, and his decision to prorogue the parliament.
The President explained that this was done after the opposition were bent on moving ahead with a no-confidence motion against the government. He spoke of the combined opposition’s constant effort to derail the progress that has been made under the PPP/C administration, as he cited the cuts to the national budget over the past three years, which the high court ruled was unconstitutional, but noted that from the actions of the opposition they seem bent on stymieing development, moreso in hinterland communities.
The residents were reminded of the cuts to the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs’ capital budget.
He assured the gathering that despite the opposition’s efforts to thwart development, the administration will continue to work towards the advancement of all its citizens
Meanwhile Toshao of Kurukubaru, Leonis Peters, who also addressed the gathering at the opening ceremony, described the event as a historical one for the residents.
“Very often we have heard about similar national events taking place in other regions. I am very proud today to say expo 2014 is the first of its kinds, it’s an attempt to bridge the existing gap with other communities and regions.”
He added that the event is also a vision that has become a reality, and called on his fellow residents to use the event for social coalition, nation building and most importantly as a forum to boost economic development and give recognition to the North Pakaraimas. [GINA]