Consultations on poverty reduction Editorial
Stabroek News
November 27, 2001

The Region 4 Co-ordinating Committee on the Reduction of Poverty, which had its origin from within the consultation process on the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper in that region, has prepared a paper making a number of suggestions which are worthy of consideration.

Its first proposal is that the government should initiate a national human resources survey in the cities and the rural areas. This would ascertain the skills, training and educational levels of citizens of working age (teachers, doctors, carpenters) and could be inputed on community, regional and national databases. This approach would also create opportunities for community involvement and empowerment, the committee says.

The next suggestion is to compile a global register of skilled Guyanese which would provide an extensive human resource pool and a basis for overseas based Guyanese investment committees, the subject of a further proposal. Interestingly enough, one skilled overseas Guyanese, Mr Gilbert Campbell, responded immediately to the letter in our Sunday paper on this topic from Mr Elton Mc Rae, a member of this Committee (see Mr Campbell's letter [ please note: links provided by LOSP web site ] on letters page).

The committee calls for an updated agricultural and natural resources inventory which could form the basis for projects and investments in the regions. A National Think Tank should be established to co-ordinate these surveys and to produce sectoral reports which the communities could use to embark on viable economic ventures.

The committee recognises that investment is vital and that political stability is essential for this. It calls for continuous dialogue and the establishment of a mechanism to "engender constructive engagement of stakeholders. "It has been observed that Regional Parliamentary Representatives, though symbols of the Devolution of Power, have not been furnished with the requisite resources to effectively discharge their mandates. This deficiency needs to be addressed, concomitant with the accelerated implementation of the agreed constitutional reforms", the document says.

The Board of Go-Invest, which includes a senior representative from the People's National Congress, Mr Stanley Ming, should set an "aggressive marketing agenda". There should also be Guyana Investment Committees abroad comprised of overseas Guyanese.

Clearly some effort went into the preparation of this document and some of the proposals are potentially valuable. The government should consider further dialogue with this committee as part of the finalising of the strategy.