Cooperative Republic of Guyana

Rupertee faces a ‘pleasant problem’


Pleasant problem: Rupertee Senior Councillor, Suresh Andries receives the $800,000 Presidential Grant cheque from Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan during the massive Ministerial Outreach in the Rupununi Region

Pleasant problem: Rupertee Senior Councillor, Suresh Andries receives the $800,000 Presidential Grant cheque from Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan during the massive Ministerial Outreach in the Rupununi Region

– village among the very first to receive its Presidential Grant for 2019

– grants are geared towards boosting economic and social development for Indigenous people in their villages and communities

– village to convene urgent meeting to discuss how best to utilise the money, given unexpected intervention of GWI as the grant was initially requested to improve water storage and distribution

DPI, Guyana, Sunday, February 2019

The residents of Rupertee village in the North Rupununi have an unexpected ‘pleasant problem’ on their hands which will require an urgent community meeting to address. The nature of the ‘pleasant problem’ was revealed by Senior Councillor, Suresh Andries, who received the village’s Presidential Grant of $800,000 for 2019. The money is part of the $235M Presidential Grant Fund for 2019 and the village is among to very first to receive its allocated sum.

The cheque was handed over to Andries, on behalf of the village, by Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan on Saturday, February 16.

When the proposal was submitted last year, the money from the grant was to be used to improve water storage and distribution in the village.

However, the Senior Councillor of the village explained that on Friday, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI), Dr. Richard Van West-Charles and a technical team visited the village. During that visit, the GWI team made a commitment to address the water storage and distribution issue. It means that the residents can now utilise their Presidential Grant on another project which will enhance village life.

In this regard, residents will meet shortly, and according to Andries, they will have to collectively decide how the $800,000 grant money is to be utilised, given the unexpected intervention of the GWI.

In the meantime, the presentation of the cheque by Minister Bulkan was done on behalf of the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs during a three-day massive Rupununi Ministerial Outreach at the weekend.

Minister Bulkan and 18 government ministers visited 28 villages throughout the Rupununi, which began on Friday, February 15.

Presidential Grants are issued through the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs and are between $500,000 and $2M. The grants are geared towards boosting economic and social development for Indigenous people in their villages and communities. More importantly, the grants are awarded based on population size and based on requests and proposals submitted by the respective villages.

Several hundred villages and satellite communities benefit from the annual initiative which saw some $215M distributed in 2017, following from $280M which was distributed in 2016, the year in which Guyana celebrated its 50th independence anniversary.

Villages use the grant funds for various projects including the upgrading of sport facilities, supporting women-groups’ initiatives, construction and expansion of village benabs, and hostels among others.

Almost $1Billion has been allocated to the Presidential Grant Fund initiative from 2016 to present.

Images: Karime Peters