Indigenous Peoples Affairs’ Minister Sydney Allicock is extremely pleased to see youths from Monkey Mountain, North Pakaraima in Region Eight, capitalising on the opportunity the Hinterland Employment Youth Service (HEYS) programme is affording them.
On Wednesday he visited in the village two businesses, one owned and operated by siblings Arisa, Evelyn and their brother Elvan Peters, who are into cattle rearing; and the other owned and operated by Loretta Felix and her brother Dexter Stanislaus, who own a grocery shop as well as an entertainment corner (mini cinema).
The Minister stated, “While everybody didn’t do what they were supposed to do, we have some success stories like these. It is good to know that you are turning over the money and you have something to bring in an income; and more so your family — your father, your uncle, your auntie — being a part of this, which means that you are creating a job opportunity for that person. So we are very impressed by those who have made it and continue to have their business”.
Evelyn Peters, the older of the two sisters, noted thus, “It is good, I would say, because before we don’t have anything like this; but since they HEYS, we begin to bring cows and then we save and bring a heifer, then we go and buy another one and so on. We have twelve in the paddock right now, two are out. So that’s how we do it. We slaughter the bulls, sell it and save and buy more heifer”.
Government has pumped a substantial amount of financial and other resources into the HEYS programme across the country, and Minister Allicock assured the youths there that because of their commitment, they will receive a further boost for their businesses.
“We are now going to support businesses like these with fifty thousand dollars. So it’s the three of you in the team, so you will receive one hundred and fifty thousand dollars that is going to be added to your business. We will be rolling this out within this month. We have started already in a part of Region 9, and as the funding comes in, we would be releasing from Region to Region”.
The Ministry, Minister Allicock said, is endeavouring to build the capacity of “our indigenous youth to help the younger ones”.
Already, dialogue has commenced for a possible third cohort, and Minister Allicock noted, “We are working towards cohort three, because we have to find the basis for building the capacity of our young people. They must be able to think about the environment and everything around them; to know who they are; their culture; their history, and also the value of everything around us”.
Some five businesses were established and made operable in Monkey Mountain, and Minister Allicock has encouraged participants who would have dropped out of the programme to remain focused, because the knowledge they would have gained through the programme would remain with them for a lifetime.
In Monkey Mountain, Government has invested in excess of $10 million in twenty five individuals who participated in the programme.
Approximately three thousand nine hundred youths have benefitted from the HEYS programme since it was rolled out in 2015 in Region 8, and many success stories have been shared.
This has seen Government pumping more than two billion dollars towards the development of indigenous youths and according to Minister Allicock, Government would continue investing in its people, since they are the future of tomorrow.