Housing and Water Minister, Collin Coral, spearheaded the Government’s flood relief cash grant distribution exercise in a number of villages in the South Pakaraima, Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) over the past two days.
Approximately 500 farmers and households from the villages of Kaibarupai, Sand Hill, Waipa, Kamana, Kopinang and Maikwak benefitted from grants ranging from $50,000 to $100,000.
The residents of these Patamona Amerindian villages are mostly involved in cash crop farming of fruits, vegetables, ground provision, and cattle rearing. They were forced to abandon their farmlands during the prolonged May-June rainy period.
During his address to the residents, Minister Croal said that the cash grant is not compensation, but rather a support mechanism that will allow them return to their farming activities.
“I want to encourage you to utilise the money for the purpose it is intended…get back to the clearing of your lands, buy your seeds and start planting. We want to see persons back into their farmlands because you have very fertile land in these areas,” he said.
The Minister also reminded the residents of some of the other measures implemented by the PPP/C Government since it got into office, to safeguard the livelihoods of citizens.
As part of efforts to stimulate hinterland village economies, a one-off COVID-19 relief grant was disbursed to communities to embark on economic ventures and construct community ICT hubs.
The $25,000 COVID-19 cash grant per household also had a significant impact on the lives of citizens, as well as the one-off cash grants for pensioners and persons living with disabilities. Students also benefited from the $19,000 ‘Because we care’ cash grant programme.
Minister Croal noted that the PPP/C Administration continues to invest billions of dollars into all sectors in communities across the country.
“Everywhere you go in Region Eight now, you can see development taking place, whether it is a school, health centre, roads, bridges, new water systems development is taking place,” he asserted.
In July, His Excellency, Dr. Mohammed Irfaan Ali announced a $7.8 Billion relief package for farmers and households affected by the unprecedented May/June floods.
Meanwhile, Ministers of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha M.P., Amerindian Affairs, Pauline, M.P., and Local Government and Regional Development, Nigel Dharamlall, M.P., spearheaded distribution exercises in other communities within the region. [Department of Public Information]