Orealla/ Siparuta could be model Amerindian communities in Guyana

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Dear Editor,

Orealla/ Siparuta Amerindian District (OSAD) could have and can be the model of Amerindian communities in Guyana; be self-reliant with a strong economic and financial base through sustainable development projects, exploiting its (OSAD) many natural resources. I.e. timber, fertile agri lands, Savannahs, bauxite, and white sand (white gold).

OSAD is situated 55 miles up the left bank of the Corentyne River from Mapena Creek to Potoco Creek, and was surveyed and demarcated by Guyana Lands and Service Commission (GLSC) in 1989, covering an area of 269 square miles. (Official land title issued on September 22,2005-President B. Jagdeo)

In 1991/1992, President Desmond Hoyte (deceased) invited the Orealla/ Siparuta Village Council (OSVC) to prepare, present and discuss a development plan for the OSAD at the Presidential office in Georgetown on a fixed date. The OSVC prepared the development plan (several projects included) and at a discussion categorically emphasized the following:

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I. All or any development plans for OSAD to be successful, depends solely on reliable river transportation service.

II. With the river service, the agri production will increase ten folds; Commercial, poultry and livestock raring will be a reality; and OSAD (first time) will be independently exploiting white sand for sale at Springlands/ Corriverton, making a sizable income which will be injected into other projects.

III. The OSVC further committed to supply all materials needed and build a boat 65x15x7, but will need financial assistance to purchase an engine for the boat (the lifeline for OSAD development).

President Hoyte was highly impressed with the plan put together and later invited the OSVC to select an engine for the boat, and send the quotation to the Presidential office in Georgetown. Now the OSVC selected a 130 H.P lister petter engine including shaft, propeller, fuel tank, steering wheel, remote cables, etc.
The engine was bought shortly before President Hoyte emitted office in 1992.

In early 1993, a new OSVC was elected, also a new Minister of Amerindian Affairs (MOAA), Mr. Vibert Desouza (deceased) was appointed. The latter reviewed the OSAD development plan and deemed it “a PNC plan”, and with no resistance from a spineless OSVC, built a much smaller boat incapable of delivering the intended services. The OSAD development plan never materialized due to this. To date OSAD is without a reliable river service.

The OSAD is well recognize for its logging operation for over 70 years and the major supplier of logs to all the sawmills on the Crabwood Creek Springlands Corentyne. This is the only area where white sand can be exploited economically and commercially whereas Nickerie Suriname exploits their sand from the sand banks in the Corentyne River. The OSVC in 1985-1992 had foreseen the transformation from large wooden buildings to massive concrete structures, increasing the demand for white sand; all concrete structures from Crabwood Creek to Rose Hall Town Corentyne built or being built, used or using white sand from O/SAD.

I saw on the newscast on January 29th, 2021, Honorary Minister of Amerindian Affairs, doled out 105 million to several Amerindian communities, OSAD a recipient of 30 million dollars. Instructions were given to the Toshao of OSAD to utilize this 30 million to upgrade the ICT network and infrastructure within the district. I hope there’s a documented project plan with instructions demanding overseeing and accountability of this fund. The Honorable Minister is now serving a third term of MOAA (maybe a record) , and is expected to be actively assisting in planning, implementing and overseeing sustainable projects in Amerindian communities involving state funds. And not to be seen as doling out funds haphazardly.

In 2019, APNU/AFC spent 136 million to “widen” an existing four mile trail in Orealla- Siparuta, under pretext “promoting tourism”. This 136 milllion could have purchased a Bedford Truck, a Caterpillar Loader, and a boat and engine, while promoting other projects for the district’s development.

With 30 million dollar, will the OSVC reconsider building a 65x15x7 boat with a Diesel engine? Exploit “white gold”? Promote agri farming? Commercial, poultry and livestock raring? Be self reliant through sustainable projects? Build a strong economic and financial base?

Sincerely,
Gerald Mc Intyre
Former Village Councillor/ Secretary- OSVC



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