Two Pomeroon Amerindian villages get ‘little parliaments’
Guyana Chronicle
June 24, 2002

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MINISTER of Amerindian Affairs, Ms Carolyn Rodrigues, despite heavy rainfall, travelled approximately 34 miles along Pomeroon River to commission village offices for St Monica and Kabakaburi in Region Two (Pomeroon/Supenaam), the Government Information Agency (GINA) reported Monday.

Executive Director, Mr Harry Nawbatt and Community Development Officer, Mr Mohamed Shaeed of Social Impact Amelioration Programme (SIMAP), Region Two Chairman and Vice-Chairman, Mr Ali Baksh and Mr Vishnu Samaroo, respectively, were also in attendance at the weekend ceremony.

SIMAP, which is actively involved in Amerindian communities, funded the projects but the two communities contributed to the project as well.

GINA said they were responsible for clearing the sites of vegetation, transporting materials for the construction and providing storage and security for the things.

The offices each comprise three rooms other than the Captains’ room, a radio room, a storeroom and a waiting area.

The actual expenditure for Kabakaburi was materials ($1,317,809), labour ($400,600) and community contribution ($322,500), making a total of $2,040,979 while for St Monica, materials cost $1,545,549, labour $502,000 and $310,075 community contribution added up to $2,357,624.

GINA said the buildings were completed within six weeks.

Rodrigues, in her feature address, said the Captains of the villages told her they found it inconvenient to entertain guests and store equipment where they live and she initiated action to construct Village Council offices in the Amerindian communities.

She said the offices could be considered “little parliaments” where the Captains and Councillors can make decisions and deliberate in a better atmosphere and look at issues necessary to improve their communities.

Rodrigues announced that Village Captains and a few Councillors will be trained in accountancy and report writing within the next few months, enabling them to account to her Ministry, too, for monies and equipment.

Captain Winston Braithwaite of St Monica Village and Captain Edward Smith of Kabakaburi received plaques from SIMAP to mark the completion of the buildings.

Both captains expressed appreciation to the Minister for her continuous efforts to improve the Amerindian communities.