During today’s consideration of the budget estimates, the Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai was grilled on an $800 Million allocation to the Amerindian Fund, which she said is to be disbursed under the Ministry’s Community Development and Empowering programme.
However, with no clear answers being provided on how the money will be disbursed, the APNU+AFC said it could not provide support for the budgeted sum.
But using its majority and along with the support of Joinder list representative Lenox Shuman, the budgeted sum was approved to form part of the estimates.
In a statement on its decision, the APNU+AFC said it believes the fund is being used as “a decoy for the misuse of state funds” and the country’s indigenous people will lose out.
Today, Opposition Member of Parliament Jermaine Figueira repeatedly asked the Minister to state how many of the 16 indigenous communities in Region 10 will benefit from the fund.
The Minister said she will provide the information at another time.
The Opposition MP continued to press for his question to be answered but the Speaker eventually ended the questioning after the one hour limit for questioning expired.
The Opposition coalition said the country’s indigenous peoples deserve transparency and accountability and they deserve better than the mischievous tactics to address their needs.