In excess of $700 million will be expended for the execution of Amerindian Development Projects by the Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Ministry for hinterland villages and communities in 2019.This followed the successful defence of the Ministry’s Capital and Current Budgetary Estimates in the National Assembly on Monday by Ministers Sydney Allicock and Valerie Garrido-Lowe.This sum of $235,300,000 will be invested in 215 villages and communities under the Presidential Grant Programme.Villages are expected to submit their respective project proposals in support ofMinister Sydney Allicockexisting livelihood projects; develop new economic, social and environmental initiatives; provide job opportunities for locals and increase entrepreneurial capacity as Government commitments to empowering the Indigenous peoples of this nation.In 2019, in excess of $176 million will be spent for additional support to the programme. This will be in the form of monitoring and mentorship through cluster training to ensure best practices are employed and youth receive the prerequisite skills to effectively operate and manage their business to ensure growth and sustainability.Of the sum, $12 million has been budgeted for two thousand youth to receive additional support through the acquisition of small grants of $50,000 each.Meanwhile, the construction of a $38 million Mall at Santa Rosa, Moruca, Region One (Barima-Waini) is among other economic projects on the cards.This is a 40’ x 60’ two-storey building with some $10 million allocated in 2019 to assist the village in bringing this investment to fruition.In 2017, 10 of the 11 satellites merged their respective presidential grants to commence construction, while in 2018, all 11 villages came on board for the continuation of the project, which to date, has seen the completion of itsMinister within the Ministry, Valerie Garrido-Lowefoundation, columns and second floor completed.At the end of 2018, $21 million would have been invested by the villages and will accommodate 40 stalls equipped with lighting and security features and an estimated monthly income of $600,000Santa Rosa will also benefit from a $40 million Ground Coffee Production project (Robusta Coffee) to supply both local and export market demands and will see some 15 farmers benefiting.Farmers have already commended land preparation as they eagerly anticipate the arrival of the beans to begin the germination process and subsequently planting of seedlings.This multi-year project has seen $10 million budgeted for in 2018, with an additional $10 million in 2019 which will cater for the construction and furnishing of the facility.Kwebanna Village is also benefiting from a multi-year cassava flour processing facility, while Smith Creek Fish and Crab Facility will also receive additional funding for its completion.This two-year project is value at over $16 million with $10 million already invested in 2018 for its construction while the second year will see an additional $6 million invested for the installation of solar panels as well as additional funds for marketing of produce.Agro processing facilities will also be established in Maruranau, Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo); Food processing facility at Bina Hill, Region Nine; Paruima Fruit Farm, Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni); Santa Cruz Fruit Farm, Region One; a Lapidary in Monkey Mountain, Region Eight; an Eco-Tourism project in Karasabai, Region Nine; Rest Shelters in Chenapou and Paramakatoi, Region Eight; and Parishara, in Region Nine.Warapoka Village, Region One, is also earmarked for support towards improvingThe Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Ministryits community-based eco-tourism initiative since the spotting of the much sought after Harpy Eagle.Five million dollars was allocated in 2018 for upgrades to two rooms at the Villages Guest House and the construction of a benab to accommodate the village office and a museum. A further $2 million will go towards completing this venture which will also aid economic activities in the village.Meanwhile, Laluni, Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) and St Ignatius, in Region Nine will each receive a tractor and implements to aid in agriculture production, while the Amokokopai – Phillipai farming trail will receive a $2 million upgrade.In addition, St Deny’s/Tapakuma and Suruma trails are expected to be upgraded. Monies were also approved for construction of several bridges in various communities.Minister within the Ministry, Valerie Garrido-Lowe during her budget presentation posited “for the past three years, since this Government took office, the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs has been focusing on building the capacity of our Indigenous and hinterland people. Your Government does not believe in hand-outs. We believe in empowering people and giving them the economic support required so that they can create successful and meaningful lives for themselves”.Minister Sydney Allicock also emphasised that the vision of the Ministry for the next 20 years is to ensure that “all of Guyana’s Indigenous peoples and villages and communities are empowered to have a better quality of life now and for future generation”.The Minister added that “Budget 2019 will undoubtedly continue to ‘transform the economy, empower the people and build sustainable communities.’The House Monday last unanimously approved $1.9 billion expenditure for the Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Ministry to execute its mandate to the Indigenous peoples in 2019.