Ministers of Indigenous People’s Affairs, Sydney Allicock, and Valerie Garrido-Lowe are calling out the Parliamentary Opposition for blatantly disregarding the Amerindian Act 2006 and interfering with the results of the just concluded National Village Council Elections.
The Ministers in a joint interview on Wednesday pointed to the Moruca Sun-district, Region One; Mainstay/Whayaka, Region Two; and Moraikobai in Region Five as areas Opposition elements were campaigning during the said elections.
Minister Allicock said in Moraikobai for example, “the Toshao told us that the Regional Chairman went to help. Neither he nor his councils had any knowledge that the Chairman was in the area and being the Chairman, he should have announced that he was going to be there, but that’s the disrespect that the Opposition has for the communities.
According to information, they campaigned and took persons there who they wanted to get on the list to vote but they had no ID and they were told that they have to have an ID to vote. They were upset about it.”
The Minister noted, “As a result, the REO held back the results but subsequently had the swearing in but we had to write, because that is according to the law, and we stuck to the law.”
The Opposition was fighting to have one of its members, a former Toshao, elected. This will further influence the agenda of the National Toshaos Council and upcoming Conference scheduled for late July.
Speaking on the Mainstay elections, Minister Valerie Garrido-Lowe refuted claims that Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Annette Ferguson, campaigned while on a visit there.
Minister Garrido-Lowe said while Government did not in any way influence Village Elections, “we had the Opposition interfering in every way. They campaigned all over and they are not supposed to do that. They were in every region.
“Right here in Pakuri, they barefacedly tried to ensure that their people were chosen and many of them were not chosen. Toshaos, whether they are PPP or not, decided that they want to go pro-development rather than party politics and they are working with us.”
What was also brought to the fore was the Opposition was impressing on the minds of the people not to cooperate with, and not support the Government, but according to the Ministers, the indigenous people are thinking for themselves and they know what is required in order to foster development. They came in for high praise for standing up for what is right from both Government Ministers.
Both Ministers unilaterally agreed that the Government will continue to promote unity nationwide despite Opposition elements attempting to bring discord among the nation’s first people.
Minister Allicock encouraged the indigenous people “to think more and to know what their dreams are and in unity work towards their leadership.”
Meanwhile, nearly all of the indigenous villages across the hinterland have completed the National Village Council Elections as mandated by the Amerindian Act of 2006.
All 115 villages and 46 went to the polls from May 15 to June 15. One village located in the Mabaruma Sub-district was expected to go to the polls yesterday.
Thirty four Toshaos were re-elected, 102 were men and 14 women were elected to lead their respective villages. Nine female councillors have joined the ranks.
Two villages that were recognized for their traditional practices of choosing their leaders were Masakenari Village in Region Nine and Cashew Island Village in Region Six.
The residents of the two villages confirmed that their current leaders are recognized as their true representatives and would not vote for another person until a successor is acknowledged by the community.
All elected Toshaos and senior councillors are scheduled to gather for the 2018 National Toshaos Council Conference from July 16 at the Arthur Chung International Conference Centre, Liliendaal, East Coast Demerara.
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