The government of Guyana has announced plans to lend assistance to its Caribbean sister country Belize, in best practices for Amerindian development.
The decision was made during a meeting held on Friday, with representatives from both countries to commence the process.
Leading the exercise were Minister of Amerindian Affairs Pauline Sukhai, Minister of Housing and Water Collin Croal, and Minister of Local Government and Regional Development Nigel Dharamlall.
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Representing Belize was its Minister of Labour, Local Government, and Rural Development Oscar Requena and team. Minister Sukhai informed the delegation of the programs and policies implemented by the PPP/C Government to assist Amerindians.
These include support by way of legislation protecting their rights, presidential grants, job opportunities and upskilling, scholarships for youths and empowerment through its Amerindian land titling project.
The Belize delegation was also told of the annual National Toshoas Conference which gives Amerindian leaders a platform to address the President and ministers of government on development issues.
Additionally, Sukhai highlighted the government’s robust drive to push sustainable environmentally friendly development under the country’s low carbon development initiative.
Other priority areas include healthcare, climate-friendly agriculture, access to potable water, electricity and other infrastructural development to promote interconnectivity and economic activities in the hinterland.
Sukhai stated that it is an honor for the government to be recognized for the work it has been doing to improve the lives of Guyana’s first people.
“Our sister Caribbean country Belize who also has a population of about 12 to 13 percent of indigenous people, is visiting us to learn about our experiences and our successes and the lessons that were learnt so as to not reinvent the wheel because today they have also appointed a Minister of Indigenous Affairs and they are in the process of ensuring that they don’t have to reinvent the wheel and Guyana’s experience is offering them that opportunity,” the minister stated.
Belize’s Minister Requena noted that the two countries share many things in common. He said this is the first time in the country’s history that its indigenous people are being made a priority, noting that Guyana can serve as a body of knowledge for Belize.
He said “I sat here and I marveled at the many things minister that you shared, that you as a government do for the indigenous people of Guyana, and certainly when I listened to both other ministers share their experiences and the kind of resources that you allocate, it is wonderful and my question was how do you do it? how can you find those resources because I am certain that my colleagues would want to replicate this kind of experience in our country?” The team from Belize will be spending a week in Guyana visiting Amerindian communities, grasping knowledge on Amerindian development.
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