Energy Director tells Reg. 9 residents US$900,000 waiting to be spent on community projects

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Director of Energy Dr Mark Bynoe has urged residents of Region Nine to draft community development plans so that they can benefit from revenues that will emerge from the petroleum sector.

During an oil and gas interactive session in St Ignatius, Region Nine on Friday last, Dr Bynoe revealed that Guyana currently has approximately US$900,000 “sitting, waiting to be spent” on community-based projects.

He explained that oil operators provide US$300,000 annually, in fulfilment of their corporate social responsibility and these funds, he said, can be used to finance community projects.

“To date, Guyana has about US$900,000 sitting, waiting to be spent on community-type projects. All that we have asked is that those projects be aligned with the Government’s development strategy so it is up to us to come up with initiatives…

“If [there is] a sustainable livelihood project that you want to pursue for your community, you can engage with us; we can provide you with advice, we can provide you with the template and help you to develop a project which can ultimately be funded,” Dr Bynoe said.

Residents from several villages in Region Nine such as Lethem, Aranaputa Valley, Aishalton, Surama and Nappi participated in the session.

Director of Energy Dr. Mark Bynoe (center) and students of the Arapaima Primary School. (Ministry of the Presidency photo)

Additionally, over 238 students along with their teachers from the St. Ignatius Secondary and Primary Schools and the Arapaima Primary School also attended the event. Dr Bynoe reiterated the importance of pursuing higher education and certified training.

“One of the things I keep saying is let’s [put] plans in place because funds will …go into the Natural Resources Fund. A portion then goes to the Consolidated Fund. Now from that Consolidated Fund is where your spending will come so if you are able to make representation, to show [that] you have a strategic vision of where you wish to take your village, your region, your community that will be [considered],” Dr Bynoe said.

Mark Rodrigues, a resident of St. Ignatius Village (Ministry of the Presidency photo)

Meanwhile, Council for Technical and Vocational Educational Training (CTVET) Monitoring Inspector, Seon Hamer noted that the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) recognised that there is a greater demand for skills training as almost 70 per cent of the Region’s labour force is uncertified.

“What TVET is hoping to do is bridge the gap between the skills offered in technical institutes and training centres to meet the demands of the labour market because we have recognised that the skills coming out of the training centres are not matching the demands of the labour market,” Hamer noted.

He said work is being done at the Bina Hill Development Centre and at the St. Ignatius Secondary School to advance technical education in the region.

Arapaima Primary School student, Ezekiel Berkley posed a question at the session (Ministry of the Presidency photo)

Hamer also said that through the Ministry of Education, they will offer TVET programmes in secondary schools across the region.  This programme will first be piloted at the St. Ignatius Secondary School.

Additionally, plans are in to build a Green Development Centre in Annai through the Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affairs. This centre will facilitate training to the oil and gas sector specifically.

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