Poverty reduction consultation
Essequibians urge agri diversification
Stabroek News
April 7, 2004

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Agricultural diversification was one of the pleas by Essequibians at Friday's poverty reduction consultation.

Officials from the Poverty Reduction Unit, Office of the President met with stakeholders from Region Two in the Anna Regina Town Hall for a public consultation and pro-gress report on the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP).

Among those in the team from Georgetown were Mi-nisters Dale Bisnauth, Henry Jeffrey, Manzoor Nadir, and Bibi Shadick and Permanent Secretary Phulandar Kandhi.

From Region Two were Regional Chairman Ali Baksh, Vice-Chairman Vishnu Samaroo, Regional Executive Officer Nandkishore Persaud, and Member of Parliament Heeralall Mohan.

Education Minister Jeffrey told the meeting "government is doing its best with the available resources (but) political stability is central to growth and development in the country."

Noting that everyone should have a vision for development, he stressed that Essequibians were responsible for their own development. The minister also urged them to see themselves as part of the bigger picture in the development of the region and the country as a whole.

PRSP consultant Marcia Velloza-Sylvester addressed the participants on the achievements and plans of the programme. In her view, implementation of the poverty reduction strategy has produced tangible results in essential social services and other areas of economic development.

In presenting the regional perspective, REO Persaud said that the administration plans to establish an information technology centre, water treatment plants at Charity, Anna Regina and Suddie, a cultural centre and small cottage industries for fruit and food processing as well as a craft industry.

He also stressed the need for the dredging of the Pomeroon River to facilitate the export of produce from the Pomeroon and areas along the Essequibo Coast.

Tourism Minister Nadir promised to ensure that the cottage industry initiative receives the necessary assistance to make it succeed.

Participants from the floor recommended greater diversification in agriculture production, in addition to improved communication and transportation in Amerindian and other riverain communities.

And Matadin Etwaroo from the Essequibo Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that his organisation views the poverty reduction strategy as necessary and important and pledged full support in sensitising residents to new economic initiatives.

The poverty reduction stra-tegy paper sets out national goals for creating an enabling environment for investment and economic growth and improving social conditions so as to create new jobs and reduce poverty.

The progress report focused on actions taken so far under the PRS in order to determine the progress to date and the lessons learned. It also sought to obtain feedback from stakeholders and indicate activities that would be pursued over the next two years.