Allicock chides “dependency syndrome” of Indigenous communities

first_imgJunior Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Valarie Garrido-Lowe has posited that more should be done to foster the growth of the cassava producing sector. She made these comments at a recent meeting with executives of the National Toshaos Council (NTC), where the minister indicated that such diversification would improve the livelihoods of Indigenous peoples.Garrido-Lowe suggested that derivative products of cassava, an Amerindian staple, are ideal due to its financial and health benefits: “[There are] financial benefits of cassava; we can explore cassava snacks like cheesy cassava, garlic cassava, curio cassava; we should explore these things so that well packaged snacks into our supermarkets from the cassava here that is so healthy, because it doesn’t have gluten.”Junior Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs MinisterValarie Garrido-LoweShe noted that communities are capable of producing value-added products and have a more modernised cassava industry, pointing out that there are intentions to engage the University of Guyana on developing the industry: “We could talk with IAST (Institute of Applied Science & Technology) and try to get something going.”She further added that the rights of Indigenous peoples are likely to be better advocated as the NTC will see the establishment of its Secretariat, which she explained, will be given financial support from the Inter-American Development Bank.“People expect so much from us because we have promised so much but we will fulfil promises but we will go so many at a time and I am sure that you will get your secretariat from where you will be able to function properly with staff and I am happy to hear that IDB will be supporting financially,” she noted.Meanwhile, Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Sydney Allicock told the NTC that subventions aside, they should think “outside the box” in attaining finance from other avenues. He suggested that the NTC could solicit funds from Indigenous Communities, in rotation, to fund its work in advocating its causes.“If the NTC gets itself really organised, I am certain that every month, each one of these villages could contribute $10,000 to your purse,” he noted, adding that the NTC can then go into negotiations with the bank in development projects relating to cottage industries that will sustain livelihood of the Amerindian communities.“If you have cassava – 6 bottles of casreep every month, you add 6 families, change them every month, you will get $10,000 coming into your coffer… what we would like to move away from, is that dependency syndrome…when you work and sweat for what you need, you have more value for it,” Allicock noted.He also noted that Indigenous communities should assume responsibility of many vehicles which were allocated in the past are currently in need of repairs. He however added that his government and ministry would continue efforts in supporting: “economic development, respect to ourselves, and to have an education system that would allow other Guyanese to understand how we live,” Allicock said.Meanwhile, the many concerns raised at the recently concluded National Toshaos Conference will be addressed at the upcoming NTC executive meeting in October.last_img

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