After being fired by former APNU/AFC Govt: CSO programme restored, almost 2000 officers rehired
Community Service Officers (CSOs) who once numbered in the thousands but who lost their jobs when the former A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) disbanded the programme, have been reinstated under the current Government.
According to People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Member of Parliament Allister Charlie during a recent Regional Toshaos Meeting in Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo), the Government has rehired close to 2000 of these CSOs in its first year in office.
“We have already seen the qualitative changes that have taken place since the PPP took office. In one short year, we saw tremendous development, development that was reversed under the coalition Government is now firing and kicking. And Amerindians are a part of that development.”
“We have seen the CSO programme, a programme that was disbanded by the coalition Government upon their assumption to office. Today, we have almost 2000 CSOs on this programme,” the MP said.
Charlie reminded that the PPP Government had promised to create employment opportunities, particularly among the youth. According to the parliamentarian, the reinstatement of the CSO programme is one manifestation of that vision.
It was only a few days ago that a total of 23 CSOs from eight different regions completed training in Information and Communications Technology (ICT), enabling them to take these skills back to residents within their communities.
The three-week training programme was conducted with CSOs through Global Technology and is the second batch to be facilitated this year. Amerindian Affairs Minister Pauline Sukhai had indicated that 96 persons have been trained in ICT throughout the year and lauded this initiative as an investment by Government into Guyanese youths.
“By the end of 2021, our target is achievable and that is, we will be training 200 students from the programme. We will also achieve 220 persons trained in the skill of installing solar panels and maintaining them; and other 220 as licensed drivers with skills to service light and heavy-duty machinery,” the Minister said at the graduation ceremony.
The trainees hailed from communities such as Akawini, Kabakaburi, Mainstay, Karawab, Mashabo, Bethany, Laluni, Siparuta, Kako, Tassarene, Princeville, Karaudarnau, Katoonarib, Awaruwaunau, Hururu, Malali, Maritaro, Rockstone and Great Falls. This, Sukhai said, reiterates Government’s agenda of offering opportunities for hinterland communities and people.
The PPP/C Administration has been working to resuscitate the ICT programme since taking office. The Project Management Unit within the Office of the Prime Minister had been tasked with executing the programme through the ICT Access and eServices for Hinterland, Poor and Remote Communities project. Some 200 hinterland and riverine communities stand to benefit from the reintroduction of the programme, which was altered significantly by the coalition Government.
It was reported earlier in the year that a US$10 million line of credit has been secured to recommence the provision of the “solar farms per household” project which will precede the establishment of ICT hubs.
The CSO initiative was launched in 2014 under the Youth Entrepreneurship and Apprenticeship Programme. Its reintroduction will replace the former Administration’s Hinterland Employment and Youth Service programme, which failed to meet its objectives.
President Dr Irfaan Ali had long promised that the Government would rehire approximately 2000 of these CSOs who were terminated back in 2015 when the APNU/AFC took office. (G3)