Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai has said that the village council in Santa Mission needs to get their act together and deal with other important issues occurring within their community.
Her comments came after a number of Councillors recently squared off against a newly elected Village Captain.
“The problems being experienced in the community are not the fault of the residents. The council needs to sit down and get its act together to manage and to perform the mandate given by the community,” Sukhai said.
In early October, also, several of the villagers waved placards and told television news crews that Toshao, Reynold Samuels, abused his power, by using a village tractor and failing to hand in moneys that he collected to the Council’s treasurer. They also claimed that they were threatened.
But Sukhai noted that the Amerindian Affairs Ministry immediately addressed the matter by inviting the council and those who had concerns about the Toshao.
Minister Sukhai told reporters yesterday that the meeting saw an in depth discussion where it was noted that the council has some ‘relationship issue.’
The Amerindian Affairs Minister refused to divulge the nature of the ‘relationship issue’ but added that the meeting saw the village councillors agreeing to go back to their community and trying to mend their relationship.
Last week, a team from the Amerindian Affairs Ministry visited the area and met with the village council to measure the progress being made on the decisions taken at that meeting.
It was noted that a report is currently being prepared on the matter. Meanwhile, Sukhai is of the view that the press has sensationalized the community issue and did not examine the real issues facing the village.
“So basically it was a relationship problem with the village council and there was the whipping of sentiments and emotions and of course the manipulators, who some times strive on these matters… whip up sentiments which probably are not necessary, but we are addressing the issue.”
It was also revealed that the deputy Toshao has resigned from the council because he could not have tolerated being pressured due to the petty verbal fights.
Kaieteur News had reported that 86 villagers had written to the Amerindian Affairs Minister asking her to investigate claims against Toshao Reynold Samuels.
In a letter dated September 10, last, to the Region Three Chairman, and addressed to several government offices, members of a split council claimed that statutory meetings are not held; that the Treasurer was replaced illegally; that monies were collected by the Toshao but not handed over to the Treasurer and spending of the village money with authorization.
The letter, also sent to the Minister, accused the village leader of not providing receipts for business transactions and failing to provide reports of at least two developmental projects.
The letter also complained of the Toshao being drunk on many occasions while conducting village businesses and misusing village assets.
In a further letter to Minister Sukhai dated October 7, and signed by the 86 residents, a number of village councilors further claimed that the Toshao left the community without informing the Council and was absent from a scheduled Monthly Village Council meeting. There was no excuse from the official on his absence, the letter said.
Santa Mission, home to over 300 persons, is located about 13 miles from Timehri Docks up the Demerara River.
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