PNCR rolls out election promises to Amerindians

Last Updated on Monday, 22 April 2024, 18:47 by Writer

A section of attendees at the PNCR/APNU+AFC meeting at the Kumaka Market Wharf

Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), Aubrey Norton on Sunday promised Amerindians more political autonomy and benefits should the opposition coalition that includes his party win next year’s general and regional elections.

“There is no sense in talking about you like the Indigenous People, you support them but there is no programme to empower them economically,” he told a public meeting at Mabaruma.

The veteran Guyanese politician added that Amerindians would be allowed to freely elect their village leaders. “We say to you that a government under the APNU+AFC will allow you to choose Toshaos of your choice,” he said.

Amerindians, he also said, would be trained to become contractors so that they could generate wealth, rather than being disadvantaged by pro-People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP) contractors and foreign workers who were being imported from Bangladesh to drive trucks. “I’m saying to you that the APNU+AFC will identify Indigenous persons and train them and equip them to become contractors so that they can share in the wealth of this country,” he said. He said it was unacceptable that 90 percent of contracts were being awarded to PPP supporters.

Mr Norton accused the government of “hypocrisy” and being “unpatriotic” by bringing in foreign labour rather than training locals to take up those jobs.

Attendees at the PNCR/APNU+AFC meeting at the Kumaka Market Wharf

He reiterated that a government led by A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) would stimulate national agricultural development. He reasoned that hinterland communities would pay less for food grown in their regions rather than being transported from the coast. The PNCR Leader said the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs would be disbanded and replaced by a Ministry of Indigenous Peoples Affairs and Hinterland Development.

An APNU+AFC administration, he promised, would be geared to expand the hinterland road network with eventual connections to the coastland. Such an approach, according to the Opposition Leader, open new lands for housing and job opportunities. A Hinterland Development Programme, he added, would include the training of nurses, teachers, welders, mechanics and construction workers. “We can do it and we will do it,” he said.

The PPPC has repeatedly accused the APNU+AFC of sacking thousands of Community Service Officers while in government from 2015 to 2020. The Irfaan Ali administration said they were rehired when his party was voted back into office in 2020.