A community inspired to change -Minister Broomes returns to Ann’s Grove
Minister within the Ministry of Natural Resources, Simona Broomes, today, said she is proud of the Ann’s Grove community for the transformation she has seen in just under a year.
Last July, Minister Broomes took the mining syndicate initiative to the East Coast Demerara community. Today, upon her return, by the community’s invitation, the Minister said she is pleased with the work the community has done towards the syndicate movement.
Roy Kingston heads up the Ann’s Bee mining syndicate which comprises just over 20 members from Ann’s Grove and nearby villages. Since learning about the initiative last year, Kingston said the syndicate has acquired seven blocks in the Cuyuni River, Region Seven area.
He added that it was “just a matter of time” before miners in the syndicate begin mining two of those blocks after receiving the permission of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC).
“I’m asking you to make good use of the syndicate,” Minister Broomes charged the miners and resident present at the meeting. “Ann’s Grove is on the verge of becoming a significant mining community,” Kingston assured.
The Pastor making a difference
During her meeting last year with the community, Minister Broomes also addressed the concern of residents. Local Pastor Roxanne Hanover, had raised the issue of school drop out and teenage pregnancy in the “backdam” of Ann’s Grove. Minister Broomes had advised Hanover to create a community group to address these concerns. Hanover followed that advice and the Ann’s Grove Parenting Association was created.
Since September, the Association has been working with young parents in the community to arrest several social ills. “From that group we probably have over 100 parents every two weeks gathering together”, Hanover pointed out.
During those sessions, Hanover explained that the Child Care and Protection Agency (CPA) conducted sessions on skilful parenting, assisted parents to get birth certificates and facilitated opportunities for young single parents to be gainfully employed. Talks, through the CPA, were also facilitated on the importance of children attending school. “I can tell you we’ve had some improvements”, Hanover told Minister Broomes.
Minister Broomes, in commending the initiative, pointed out the importance of people taking action to make a difference in their communities.
The Ann’s Grove Sisters Group
Also inspired by Minister Broomes during her visit last year were a group of women who the Minister charged to organise themselves and work for their community.
President of the Sisters and Brothers Group of Ann’s Grove, Unice Fortune reported how the group banded together, elected executive members and carried out community self-help activities like clean-up campaigns and charitable donations to schools and the less fortunate.
“We…wish to say a big thank you to Honourable Simona Broomes and team for the great work they have started in Ann’s Grove. We are very grateful. We promise in everything we do to give it our best, and nothing but our best”, Fortune stated even she added that the group looks forward to “bigger and better things” in 2018.
Minister Broomes noted she was proud of the community and encouraged them to keep working to make a difference. “You have it within you to press the switch in your life and make it bright. We will transform Ann’s Grove, as a people, like we will transform Guyana”, Minister Broomes said.
Keeping masquerade alive
Meanwhile, Minister Broomes gave her commitment to sponsor the community’s masquerade band for Mashramani. The Minister issued this promise after expressing how pleased she was to see the preservation of the communuity’s culture, “I’d rather have you use your energy to maintain your culture than fight each other.”
Leader of the Ann’s Grove Warriors masquerade band, Otis Barry, described the Minister’s commitment, “as a big relief for me.”
For Barry, masquarde dancing is a family tradition. “I feel like is a family thing everybody keep stepping”, he said. Barry, who learned from his father, teaches the dance to boys in the community, including his young son, who range in age from four-14. Barry added that he works hard to build the group and the support from Minister Broomes will go towards properly outfitting the band when it competes at masquerade competitions and other Mashramani festivities.