$200M Lotto funds to help send sick children overseas

By Andrew Richards
Stabroek News
November 7, 1999

Cabinet met yesterday for the first time in Linden and a number of important decisions were made, some of which were aimed at spurring development in the region.

President Bharrat Jagdeo told reporters yesterday at a press conference to wrap up the three-day Cabinet outreach in the mining region, that the most significant decision made was the approval of $200 million from Lotto funds to assist with the backlog of cases of children who require treatment overseas.

He noted that many such cases have accumulated over the years because of the paucity of funds. The President said government has agreed to explore bilateral ties with other countries to assist in this crucial area.

According to President Jagdeo, it has been decided to explore the possibility of asking Guyanese in foreign countries with relevant skills to volunteer their services in assisting to treat children.

Three leases for companies to operate in the intermediate savannahs were also approved by Cabinet. The President expressed the hope that this would spur other companies to do likewise and get the project going.

He disclosed that Cabinet had discussed the amendment to the New Building Society Act, which would facilitate easier financing for housing. The Head of State said he hoped this discussion would conclude at the next Cabinet meeting.

According to the President, during the three-day interaction with the people of Region Ten, he sensed their need to move forward. Their complaints have been the unavailability to get jobs, the need for better education and health and the need to address land issues.

President Jagdeo said in his discussion with the young people most of whom complained about the need for jobs, he told them not expect changes overnight. He said their problems and other issues would be addressed at the youth conference planned for January next year. However, he assured them that young people would have a major role to play in any project aimed at the development of the country.

The President said in his meeting with the Linden Chamber of Commerce (LCC) it was agreed that there was a need for speedier implementation of policy programmes and a better relationship between government and the chamber.

He said he informed the LCC that next January, he would discuss the establishment of an incentive regime for the region.

Jagdeo said the need was stressed to urgently establish a land selection committee to address the region's needs. He promised to aggressively follow this up.

The President was accompanied at the press conference by Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr Roger Luncheon, ministers Moses Nagamootoo, Shaik Baksh and Clinton Collymore.

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Guyana: Land of Six Peoples