(GINA) The Executive Committee of the National Toshaos Council (NTC) was today elected at the official opening of the of NTC meeting held at the Arthur Chung International Conference Centre, Liliendaal.
The meeting, which is an annual event facilitated by the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, opened under the theme, ‘Steadfast Indigenous Leadership towards Territorial Integrity and Sustainable Livelihoods’. It will conclude on August 22, 2015.
The Toshaos (Indigenous Chiefs), were addressed by Minister within the Ministry of Communities, Dawn Hastings. In her charge to the officials, the Minister highlighted the essential points from the Amerindian Act, as these specifically identify the functions of the National Toshaos Council.
“My charge to you today, is to ensure that good governance will prevail in each of our Indigenous villages and, that you as the new elected National Toshaos Council, must be able to prepare strategic plans, so that Guyanese in our Hinterland villages must have access to appropriate health and education facilities,” Minister Hastings said.
The Minister explained that Council must be able to fulfill its mandate as an independent body, which would provide advice to the Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs. She advised the NTC to have a listening ear to the various Village Councils and to assist in resolving any issues they might have in a bid to working and creating developed and sustainable communities.
Meanwhile, in his presentation, Minister of Governance, Raphael Trotman, on behalf of President David Granger, congratulated the Toshaos, who were elected to the new Executive Committee. The Minister encouraged the Toshaos to work together for the greater good of the people they represent.
He took to opportunity to dispel political rumors which stated that the new APNU+AFC Coalition Government will disband agriculture and get rid of the Amerindian culture.
“I wish to assure you and reassure you, that we have no such intentions, all I would ask is for you to give us an opportunity to get to know each other better and to win your trust. We don’t stand here demanding of you, allegiance. We don’t stand here demanding that your support the Government. We ask however, that you pay allegiance to your people, that you pay allegiance to the Constitution of Guyana and pay allegiance to the Amerindian Act,” Minister Trotman advised.
In addition, Minister Trotman stated that, “you are citizens of Guyana and citizens of the world, you are entitled to self-respect, to dignity and the right to choose for yourself”.
The elections were conducted by the Guyana Elections Commissions (GECOM) for transparency. The electoral process for selecting the executives saw the casting of ballots by every administrative region in Guyana, as this allows for the selections of the executives, based on a majority vote. From within the twenty executives elected, they will elect a Chairman, Secretary and a Treasurer.
Region One will be represented by Cleveland DeSouza, Vincent Emmanuel and Michael Williams; Region 2-Joel Fredricks and David Wilson; Region 3-Aubrey Samuels; Region 4-Lennox Shuman; Region 5-Colin Adrian; Region 6-David Henry; Region 7-Norma Thomas, Darnis Larson and Eyon Boyer; Region 8-Ian Pio, Gideon John and Edward McGarrel; Region 9-Lenny Moses, Nicholas Fredricks and James George; and Region 10-Wilbert Hall and Telford King. The elected Chairman is Mr. Joel Fredricks, with Mr. Eyon Boyer the elected Secretary and Mr. Nicholas Fredricks the elected Treasurer. (File photo)