Telecommunication minister, Ambrose George, is refuting a claim which he said was made by the Kalingo Chief that the Kalinago Territory has been placed on the back burner by the government.
Addressing the installation of the Kalinago Chief and Council on the weekend, George said he was actually shocked when he heard such claim, pointing out development is a slow process.
“Rome was not built in a day and everything for the Carib Territory cannot be done in a day,” he noted. “It is work in progress.”
George said he was not sure what the Kalinago Chief meant by his words.
“I wasn’t sure what he was trying to say because being on the back burner means that it is on a slower fire, it is not receiving probably the level of attention that it deserves, probably the people of the Carib Territory are not realizing the level of development that they should be realizing,” he stated. “But is that really the case? Is the Carib Territory really on the back burner?”
George said, in his opinion, this is not the case.
“I do not think so, whilst development is a process there is a lot more to be done and we agree to that as a government and as a people and as a nation,” he stated.
He pointed to a number of national and local projects that have, he said, touched the lives of the island’s indigenous people, including the government’s $8.6-million Capacity Building Project, the house retrofitting project, the construction of a road to Touna Village in Concord and a construction of a Resource Center in St. Cyr, among others.
“All of these, in my mind, have resulted in some very positive impact on the achievement as far as the people of the Carib Territory are concerned,” he said.
Meanwhile, MP for the area, Ashton Graneau, said the government’s Housing Revolution has greatly impacted the Kalinago people.
“Never before in the history of the Kalinagos have we ever seen such an emphasis being placed on improving the housing stock of the Kalinago people,” he noted. “We have been able over the past five years to construct 74 two-bedroom houses with washroom facilities…”
He said the Chief had pointed out some issues with the houses but the problem will be addressed since the some of the houses are almost ten years old.
“The wooden section of the houses of course will call for some repairs now,” Graneau said. “So of course we will look at that Chief, we will look at that.”
He also said the government has worked closely with the Kalinago Council to renovate a number of houses in the Territory.
“The Chief will tell you himself that in 2009, 2010 the government made available to the council $200,000 which was used for the renovation of 120 homes in the Kalinago Territory,” he stated.
At the ceremony Charles Williams and his council of six were formally installed.