Some of Norway's forest-payments to buy solar panels, demarcate Amerindian lands., Jagdeo tells World Bank not to dictate, slow-up process greenhouse gases would be spent on land demarcation and providing clean-energy to Amerindian communities.
Addressing participants at the opening of the conference of National Toshaos Council (NTC), a body established under the Amerindian Act, he said that out of the first tranche of US$30 million that Norway would be paying Guyana, US$4 million would be spent on fast-tracking land-demarcation.
Noting that the demarcation of one community would cost GUY$40 million, the President said the demarcation of the less than 20 lands has been delayed because of a shortage of surveyors and insufficient cash.
Norway has agreed to pay Guyana up to US$250 million over the next five years to retain its rainforest and abide by a strict set of rules for forestry management that can impact on the forestry and mining sectors.
Jagdeo US$1.5 million would be used to buy solar panels for all Amerindian houses and the remaining US$2.5 million would finance development activities under the Village Transformation Plans to trade in goods and services.
With the World Bank and Inter American Development Bank playing major roles in managing Norway's funds through the Guyana Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (GRIFF) to ensure transparency and accountability, the Guyanese leader called on those international financial institutions not to delay the process.
"They should be facilitators, not dictating how we spend the money you should make that determination by selecting the projects," said Jagdeo, a Russian-trained economist.
Apart from the Norwegian funds, the Guyana government plans to buy a bank of at least 20 computers and provide Internet access to each Amerindian village to speed up communication between people in remote riverain, mountainous and savannah communities and elsewhere.
"It's not just about making our entire country computer literate but it's also ensuring that people in those communities can communicate instantaneously to the coast and to the entire world because though Internet access they can open up their perspectives to whatever is happening everywhere else," said Jagdeo.
Labeling some non-governmental actors and members of the international community as "silly useless people," who do not understand the way of life of Amerindians, the President said several of them create policies that stymie progress while earning "big bucks from this so-called representation."
"You don't need intermediaries you don't need anyone between you and the government to represent your case you can represent it directly to me," he said.
But Toshao, Dr George Norton, who attended the opening session and listened to the President's address, disagreed with the President about the role of international organisations like the World Bank.
"The World Bank and the other international financial agencies are trying to make certain that things are done the proper way and if it means slowing down a process, then so-be-it," said Norton, a front-bench parliamentarian and executive member of the main opposition Peoples National Congress Reform.
He said that the government was ignoring some of the concerns about land demarcation by Amerindian communities and so there was no problem if the World Bank was willing to listen.