Oct 06, 2022 News
…stage protest for him to step down
By Shervin Belgrave
Kaieteur News – Residents of Santa Rosa Village, Moruca, Region One, on Tuesday accused their toshao of being involved in corruption during a protest where they asked: “where is the nine million?”
The Region One residents decided to protest after the toshao, Stavros Stanley reportedly failed to give account for some $9.5M he allegedly received from the government for coffee farmers. They were reportedly motivated to take protest action against him after a letter was published in one of the daily newspapers, claiming that no attention is being paid to allegations of corruption in Indigenous communities.
The letter was penned by Mervyn Williams, a member of the opposition and he made reference to the allegations made by the Santa Rosa residents that Stanley cannot give account for the $9.5 granted to the community by the government to fund a coffee project. Williams wrote that the funds were reportedly deposited in a bank account and the village council was given control of the monies to manage it in the best interest of the residents. “At a recently conveyed General meeting the Toshao, Stravos Stanley and the treasurer Phillip Bess were called upon to give account for the Coffee Project fund. The report was that all of the Santa Rosa Village Funds had been withdrawn from the account and the villagers are alarmed. There was no consultation with the coffee farmers regarding the withdrawal or use of the funds. Further, farmers have not benefitted from the fund withdrawn”, Williams alleged in his letter.
Speaking with Kaieteur News on Wednesday, residents said that indeed they had called on Stanley and the treasurer to give an account on how the money was spent but he failed to give them a proper response. They alleged too that this is not the first time that Stanley is unable to give account for village funds. Moreover, they added he has been breaking village rules and not following the right protocols in administering lands and spending cash.
During the protest, villagers were seen holding placards and calling on their fellow community members to vote out their toshao. Another man could be heard saying, “If y’all ain’t want vote him out then let him do the honourable thing and resign”.
Some of the placards read, “Accountability and transparency is needed in our village”, another had the phrase, “We vote you in; we will vote you out.” One of the protestors, Monica Lowe related that they never had such issues with previous toshaos. She said that they thought Stanley would have been transparent with them just like his predecessors but since he was elected in May last year, his track record has not been a good one and they want him gone.
“One of the issues I had with him is that he illegally re-possessed my land and give it to someone else”, she said. The woman alleged that she was granted the land by a previous toshao who had given her a signed document but he had repossessed it without consulting her or holding a general village meeting. Lowe claimed that when she raised the issue with him, he said that the document granted to her by the previous toshao was not valid.
Other villagers complained that one of the village rules he is breaking is not consulting with residents before handing out lands to people. Moreover, they alleged most of the lands he is giving away without consultation are to his friends and relatives. They explained that although the lands cannot be bought or sold, the rule is that before they can be administered, the village council must convene a general meeting with the villagers before handing them out.
The villagers will cast a vote on whether or not the beneficiary is eligible for the land. It is the same rule for spending village funds. Community members, they related, must be notified and updated on how the monies are being spent and who are benefitting.
However, according to them, Stanley has not been following the rules and has not been calling meetings and when they demand transparency, he is unable to give account. Another protestor, Paul Rodrigues, an elected committee representative of Kumaka – part of Santa Rosa – alleged that Stanley has also failed to adhere to another rule that is declaring funds entering the village treasury to its council members. He recounted two occasions where monies were not declared and when the council called on Stanley to account for the cash, he could not.
“A contractor came in here to do the roads and he paid the village $150,000 for sand royalties (a royalty paid for using sand from the village), that money was never declared, the same contractor also donated $260,000 to repair a four wheel motorbike belonging to the village, that too was never declared and we don’t know where the money is”, Rodrigues claimed.
Kaieteur News reached out to Stanley to get his comment on the allegations that are being leveled against him but he said that he was unable to speak with the newspaper at that moment because a relative of his had passed away. He did however, agree to give a comment at a more appropriate time and apologised for not being available to speak to the media.
Nov 27, 2022Kaieteur News – Suriname women’s team signalled their intention of taking the Inter Guiana Games (IGG) women’s basketball trophy back to Paramaribo with a 52-point win over Guyana at the...
Kaieteur News – A group of opposition politicians and their surrogates have dispatched a letter to various inter-governmental... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]