$80M approved for indigenous events

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A total of $80 million has been approved in the 2022 National Budget for national and other events under the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs including the hosting of toshaos’ meetings across all ten regions.

This is according to Minister of Amerindian Affairs Pauline Campbell-Sukhai who was pressed on the possibility of hosting a National Toshaos’ Council (NTC) conference in 2022 by Opposition Parliamentarian Vincent Henry.

The $80 million, the minister said, caters for the hosting of leaders’ meetings within Regions One to 10; hosting various expos and providing support to district sporting events.

This money has been allocated under the $711 million policy development and administration work plan of the ministry.

Pressed by Henry on the possibility of hosting the traditional NTC conference, Minister Sukhai answered: “We have catered, if the leaders become much more responsible and support the government’s COVID-19 effort, we may get back to some form of normalcy and we may be able to hold the [National Toshaos’ Conference].”

The NTC is a semi-autonomous body comprising all indigenous leaders in Guyana; there has been no NTC conference since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2021, indigenous leaders met at several regional meetings since it was not advisable that the more than 200 leaders gather in one location as per the norm.

And at those regional meetings, the leaders had discussed challenges faced, concerns and priorities for the upcoming budget.

Deputy Speaker and Opposition Parliamentarian Lenox Shuman recently told the News Room that COVID-19 continues to be a challenge, hindering the hosting of the conference.

Meanwhile, indigenous people will again receive grant funding to pursue developmental projects in their villages with the approval of $300 million for the disbursement of Presidential Grants through the Amerindian Development Fund.

A total of $1.8 billion has been allocated to this Fund; it is expected that several developmental initiatives will be fostered for indigenous people.

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