More than nine three million dollars will be spent on the education sector for the village of Baramita, Matarkai sub-district, Region 1.
During a ministerial outreach to the village late last week Vice President and Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Sydney Allicock and support staff, told residents there of the many initiatives to be rolled out by the government over the next eight months which will ensure its social and economic status sees vast improvement.
The infrastructural developments include the construction of a Nursery School and teaching quarters, the renovation of the Primary School and the acquisition of a Minibus as a means of transportation for school children to and from school.
The Minister in addressing the social needs of the village said Baramita has been experiencing its fair share of challenges but believes that the pending changes to its landscape will significantly change the way business is conducted.
The Minister pointed out that his Ministry cannot do it alone so there is partnership with other key sister ministries to ensuring the social and other ills affecting the village are adequately addressed.
He also advocated for villagers to come up with ideas that will bring about more cohesion pointing to “acquiring a 3000W solar farm, it can take the form of a compound with enough land space that will include a section for tourism exhibits, an internet café’, an ice factory, book stores, a section to sell local produce, clothing, pharmacies, gadgets and so many other things”.
He said it should be laid out in such a way that there is another layer that can accommodate a housing scheme which will boast amenities including an efficient water supply among other systems that seeks to will protect the natural environment.
“The main focus is to have the entire area come together and plan the way forward into a successful future”, the Minister challenged.
The village continues to face many social ills and Deidre Ifill the Prevention and Education Officer in the Ministry of Social Protection who was also a member of the team indicated that efforts are being made to aggressively tackle those issues.
Meanwhile, the Ministry’s new Permanent Secretary Alfred King who took up the post just over a month ag applauded the effort made by the Teachers and students for giving of their best despite the many challenges including that of inadequate accommodation.
“ Based on last year’s performance 12 of the 14 students who wrote the common entrance exam (National Grade Six Assessment- NGSA) were successful they must be commended for that and ’m hearing that twenty six will be writing the exams this year and I am predicting an 80% pass when the results are out. I am hoping that the teams visit will serve as a motivation for you students to excel since attaining a sound primary education is critical to future development”.
Despite this achievement, the P.S expressed disappointment with the fact that of that number of passes, none of the students are currently attending secondary school.
However based on the reasons given for their non-attendance the P.S committed to ensuring that following this year’s sitting the Ministry will award full scholarships to the top five students which according to him, will ensure no one loses an opportunity at gaining a higher education.
Meanwhile, Policy Advisor in the Ministry of Education Ruel Johnson who was also a member of the outreach team said the Ministry recognizes the considerable challenges faced by students there in terms of the language barrier, but noted that efforts are afoot to address this challenge since it’s a major hindrance to learning . Their first language is Carib.
Also accompanying the team were Regional Executive Officer Leslie Wilburg and Regional Vice Chairman Sarah Brown.
Brown indicated that documentation to commence construction of the nursery and teaching quarters are currently being processed at the tender board and as soon as that process is completed works on the buildings will commence.
This according to her will also depend on the length of time a village decision is arrived at for a possible relocation to a government established compound away from the village’s airstrip.
Security was cited as the main reason for the proposed move.
Speaking to the students, Brown who is a young and vibrant leader said “children study hard I want you to become a more educated village, I want to see the first teacher come out from Baramita”.
The REO spoke of government’s commitment in improving the lives of all Guyanese while noting that despite the challenges facing the village; together they can make a difference.
Commitments were also made in the area of agriculture whereby farmers will be educated on farming techniques since according to one farmer it’s not only about planting seeds but offering the entire package which will yield success.
They were encouraged to establish a Co-op with the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs acting as the facilitating agency.
Minister Allicock pointed to the recently established Co-op in Paramakatoi a model he said the village of Baramita can use as a successful business tool.
One councilor said villagers have approached the Institute of Private Enterprise Development (IPED) to access loans for agriculture purposes where they were told that because of their location they could not qualify. P.S King responded by promising to open discussions with IPED in this regard.
The Minister also advised that they should begin looking to tap into niche markets but there must be that assurance that they can adequately satisfy the local markets.
The Minister cautioned that in the past, similar market ventures were birthed but because of limited supply of a number of produce the markets fell through.
Minister Sydney Allicock handing over the land title to Baramita’s Toshao Trevor Matheson.
Baramita with a population of more than three thousand five hundred persons which is located in Region 1 has now gained village status after receiving its legal land title document. The document was handed over last weekend by Vice President and Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Sydney Allicock to Toshao Trevor Matheson in the presence of P.S King, Regional Vice Chairman Miss Brown, councilors and villagers during a community meeting.