Improved infrastructure crucial to indigenous development – Shuman

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Better roads, bridges and other infrastructure are needed to help improve the lives of indigenous people, Deputy Speaker and Opposition Parliamentarian Lenox Shuman has said.

Shuman, who opened the final day of budget debates on Friday, welcomed the large allocations made for infrastructural works in the 2022 National Budget.

A whopping $76 billion- the largest sectoral allocation- has been made to cater for the construction and upgrades of key roads and bridges in 2022 with $49.2 billion going to roads and $27.5 billion to be spent on bridges.

And Shuman remarked, “We all understand that in order to drive economic development in any country, you need a strong and vibrant infrastructural plan.

“Without roads, the largest economic superpower in this world- the US- would not have been that economic superpower.”

Beyond this, however, the Deputy Speaker said that infrastructural development is crucial to indigenous development as well. Many of Guyana’s indigenous people live in hinterland regions that have long been beset by limited infrastructure.

Shuman referenced the works ongoing on the Linden to Mabura road. Just a few hours earlier, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) said granted its no objection for negotiations to commence with the most responsive bidder, Construtora Queiroz Galvao S.A. from Brazil for the award of the contract.

This road link is part of a wider effort at developing the 450-kilometre Linden to Lethem road to connect Guyana’s coast and hinterland areas.

And that Linden to Lethem road is part of the goal to connect Guyana to Brazil, creating a hemispheric corridor that links South America to the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean.

“I don’t think a lot of people appreciate the importance of these structures to those communities close to that roadway,” Shuman said.

He explained that this roadway will allow indigenous to access “global marketplaces”, which means that they will be able to market their products and services.

Meanwhile, unlike the preceding presentations from other opposition parliamentarians, Shuman commended the 2022 National Budget presented by the Finance Minister.

“We have to work in the Cooperative Republic of Guyana not the combative Republic of Guyana,” Shuman emphasised.

Shuman, who is also the leader of the Liberty and Justice Party (LJP), after the March 2, 2020 Regional and General elections, had formed a joinder with The New Movement Party (TNM) and A New and United Guyana (ANUG) to claim one parliamentary seat.

The other opposition parliamentarians are all from the APNU+AFC coalition.

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