Over $105M in cash grants distributed to Essequibo fisherfolk

Distribution of the $150,000 one-off fisherfolk cash grants in Essequibo on Monday saw a whopping $105 million being injected into the region to support local households.

Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo

Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo spearheaded the distribution exercise at the Rice Producers’ Association (RPA) Bond, Anna Regina, Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam).
Jagdeo has been at the forefront of the distribution across the country over the past weeks, as he explained that this is part of the Government’s efforts to cushion the effect of the rising cost of living due to a number of external factors, including the Russian war in Ukraine and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Vice President told Essequibians that while the grants cannot fill all of their needs, they will cushion some of the cost-of-living prices and other expenses. He also predicted that costs will be stabilised, pointing to this trend in reduced gas prices. However, Jagdeo added that Government wants to assist the Guyanese and inject money into the economy until this becomes a reality.
“It can’t totally solve all of the issues but it helps there is more money in the economy and people are at a capacity to address some of the cost-of-living issues. I have no doubt that prices are going to normalise in the future and things will come down back. Fuel prices have already started coming down and things will stabilise.”

Fisherfolk at the Essequibo distribution exercise

“We’re not the type of Government that sits on our hands. We have a vision for this country. It’s being laid out a very long time ago, the vision of where we want to take Guyana and what kind of country we want it to be,” the VP underscored.
Even as the Government provides assistance to vulnerable groups, Jagdeo positioned that the oil revenues are being properly managed and will not be squandered.
“People think now that we have a lot of money because we just started producing oil and gas…Here in Guyana, we will do extremely well if we manage our resources carefully and we have the proper context. We don’t listen to fantasy.”
Jagdeo explained that Government is offering incentives for persons to invest in the region, but at the same time, residents must prepare by upskilling themselves to capitalise on the opportunities.
“We’re co-investing with some people to establish call centres and a whole range on the Essequibo Coast because we need to incentivise the business people to come here. Everybody wants to come to Regions Three and Four cause it’s close to Georgetown. So, we’re giving special concessions to people who want to come out and invest. There will be changes here and you have to prepare for that.”
He added, “We’re prepared to work with you. This grant is just a little help but that is more important. We don’t want people to be left behind if they put in the effort. You have to put in the effort on your own. I’ve seen people make the effort and their lives changed”.
Reference was made to the part-time jobs initiative which enables persons to earn up to $40,000 per month for at least 10 days of work in Government Ministries and other agencies, the COVID-19 and farmers’ flood relief grants, which were also part of efforts to supplement household income.
He also urged the fisherfolk to take advantage of the many opportunities for self-improvement, while reiterating the Government’s continued commitment to supporting their entrepreneurial efforts, for which small grants and other assistance through the Small Business Bureau are available.
Further, due to the changing nature of the fishing industry, the Vice President advised the fisherfolk to “think outside the box” and consider other training programmes, since enormous job opportunities exist in the growing oil and gas sector.
“I just want to urge all of you, if you see a training programme, even if you haven’t finished school, we have now on the scholarship programme through GOAL [Guyana Online Academy of Learning], you can do a remedial programme and then go on to the technical programme and those who have the qualification can do tertiary level, university type training, even in your homes,” the VP related.