May 13, 2021 Letters
This year marks nearly two decades of the tradition of electing Toshaos in Amerindian communities, a change which occurred to bring into perspective the village leader’s ability to play his/ her vital role in the development process.
When change does come, leaders are re-elected for sure, because ultimately, in every organisation, it is the capacity of the elected leader that is crucial in bringing change in the life of the organisation.
My main task in this missive, however, is to highlight a major concern that is common in a number of Amerindian communities, which I travel to once per month. Throughout, there is a common cry: we are losing our youths through substance abuse and it appears as though, leaders are turning a blind eye to it. Never before has there been such a worrying trend taking place. There seems to be, it is felt, a don’t-care-a damn attitude out there, somewhere.
Are our Amerindian leaders not reporting this ugly, gross life pattern among our youths? I wonder.
There is a belief, also, that collectively our leaders can do a lot more. There should be a common consensus to organise themselves into Regional bodies, then report to upper levels, of the common problems we face as a people. The new National Toshao Council will next take those to yet a higher level so authorities could take action. Nothing should hinder the process of eradicating this grave social ill. Very soon, one would think, if nothing is not done quickly, that is, there will be need for rehab centres in other regions, not only in one region, alongside practical instruction centres, to gear young lads to becoming something valuable to society, not a liability to it. I shudder to think what our communities would be like, next 10 or so years, should our community leaders not endorse a joint position on the way forward with regard to this issue or they will not be worth their salt.
Hats off newly elected Toshaos! I salute you all and pray that T.E.A.M. (Together We Achieve More) effort will be your main focus for your people, particularly the young people in your communities. If we lose them, we lose our entire communities.
Rev’d Joseph Atkinson.
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