Presidential Candidate Ali outlines measures for indigenous populace
During the month of September, Amerindian heritage is celebrated with grand fanfare and while it is an ideal opportunity to showcase the diversity of Guyana’s first peoples, it also provides a platform for issues affecting this section of the populace to be highlighted nationally.
With this year’s observances in full swing and talks of impending national and regional elections dominating the headlines, those issues have gained renewed prominence as the political parties get into campaign mode.
The People’s Progressive Party/Civic, under whose administration Amerindian Heritage Month was conceptualised and placed on the national calendar in 1995, is one political force looking to convince the indigenous population that it is the right group to look after their interests.
The Party’s Presidential Candidate Irfaan Ali believes that while “we continue to celebrate the culture and heritage of Guyana’s indigenous people”, this particular group has endured “almost five years of misery, hardship and neglect to these communities by the government.”
Ali contended that once voted into office at the next elections, the PPP/C government would strengthen its focus on the country’s indigenous people, making reference to the party’s history of “ensuring their rights, access to resources and development are met.”
“Your next government will focus on job creation, infrastructure development, community enhancement and improved health, education, water and other social services. Of great importance would be enhancing the rights of our indigenous people,” Ali, a former Housing and Tourism Minister, highlighted.
The Presidential hopeful outlined a number of policies that would be pursued under his leadership, key among the rehiring of the 2000 CSOs, the expansion of that programme and increased presidential grants.
Implementing an expanded hinterland housing programme, which incidentally started under the PPP/C, supporting farmers, agriculture and infrastructure upgrade and market support for village economy are also on Ali’s list of things-to-do come 2020 and beyond.
Among the key infrastructure projects on Ali’s agenda are upgrading to hinterland roads, airstrips and water supply, while the resumption of the household solar and computer programmes is also on the cards.
Improved condition for education and health workers, resume and accelerate the Amerindian Land titling programme, remove hardship taxes, reduce cost of transportation, goods and services to hinterland communities, improved access to education with heavy focus on secondary and tertiary education and providing opportunities for access to technical education in the hinterland are all measures Ali and his Cabinet plan to pursue once elected at the next polls.
“The removal of hardships taxes that would reduce the cost of doing business and prices for essential commodities and services. This, in turn, would create greater disposable income at the individual, family and community levels,” Ali promised.
He added, “These are snippets of measures the next PPP/C government will pursue that would positively contribute to the development of Guyana’s indigenous people and hinterland communities.”