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Last year the Government distributed more than $1.1 Billion in cash grants to fisherfolk across Guyana. The government is claiming the money was distributed to 7,500 fisherfolk. According to the government ,the “masterplan” was among several measures put in place to ease the burdens on local fisherfolk.
Persons were scheduled to receive a one-off cash grant of $150,000. Last August, Guyana Chronicle reported some 8000 fisherfolk had registered to receive the grant.
The Alliance For Change (AFC) last year had called on the Government to ensure proper management of the money. Speaking at the press conference last October, party Leader and Member of Parliament (MP), Mr. Khemraj Rmajattan, called for the distribution of money to be above board. One such way he proposed is to make public the names and addresses of grant(s) recipients on the respective ministry’s website so the public can scrutinise who received or didn’t. “Let it be known to the public so we can know who and who are getting it.”
Also, touching on the government’s approach to easing the woes of fisherfolk, AFC member, MP David Patterson said paying out a cash grant is not enough. In an interview with Kaieteur News last September Patterson said there is a need for a sustainable approach which the government is failing to deliver on.
He told that publication the government doesn’t have a plan to help the industry and the complaints of the fisherfolk have been ignored for the past two years. According to Patterson, who is Shadow Minister on Oil and Gas, the government has failed to do a “baseline study” to determine the state of the industry which should guide decision-making.
Expressing reservation about the payment not only as unfit as a stop gap, Patterson pointed out the “one-off payments wouldn’t work, we don’t even know who the fishermen are and who are not so it’s a recipe for corruption and we are already hearing that. You are hearing about the thousands of persons that are getting money and I’m not even so sure there are so many fishing boats as there are people being compensated.”