Toshaos (from left) Felix Williams, Julie Johnson and Ekufa Mewsha (GINA photo)
GUYANA - The Micobie, Parabaru and Karisparu Amerindian communities recently obtained Presidential Grants totalling $2.1M for enhancement works.
A Government Information Agency (GINA) press release said Minister of Amerindian Affairs Pauline Sukhai presented the grants to the communities on Wednesday. “The programme provides communities with the financial resources necessary to fund projects that aim to provide the required services within their communities and help to make them more economically viable.”
Newly elected Toshao Julie Johnson of Micobie, Region Eight received a $1.2M grant which she said will be used to construct a ‘rest house’ in the area.
The building will provide accommodation for visitors; a paid service that will generate income for the community. Johnson said currently visitors do not enjoy adequate accommodation.
Ekufa Mewsha, Toshao of Parabaru Village received the final portion of the grant. According to Mewsha this is the third Grant the Region Nine village has benefited from and it will be used to complete a village office that is now being built. Village council meetings will be held in the office which will replace the benabs previously used.
According to GINA the minister presented the grants to the toshaos and congratulated Mewsha on being re-elected. Sukhai said she hopes the grants would be used responsibly and that the projects will be sustainable and benefit the entire community.
The minister said the Presidential Grant programme is used to fund community projects. These include productive and economic projects ranging from the expansion of village farms, eco lodges, building dams, clearing trails, providing kitchen facilities for school feeding programmes and cattle rearing. Sukhai said applications for grants are processed within two days through a simple process which requires that the communities present proposals and estimates for their proposed projects.
She said the ministry uses an approach that allows the community to decide on its priority project. Sukhai said that this method allows communities to participate in their development allows residents the leverage to own their projects. The ministry monitors the progress of the projects and later this year will provide a report of the impact that the Presidential Grants have had on various communities. GINA said the grants usually range from $500,000 to $1.7M and are distributed annually among the 139 Amerindian communities.