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Minister Sydney Allicock holds fruitful discussions with NTC Executive…..

Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Sydney Allicock addressed several concerns raised by the Executive of the National Toshao’s Council (NTC) on Tuesday while attending the body’s statutory meeting at the Hadfield Street location.

Among the issues addressed were the current political situation in Guyana, Village Improvement Plans, the Hinterland Employment Youth Service, the Roles and responsibilities of the National Toshao’s Council and Toshao’s, National Security, Strengthening the Amerindian Act and Gun Licensing.

                  Minister Sydney Allicock addressing the Executive of the National Toshao’s Council on Tuesday.

Minister Allicock said following last Friday’s decision handed down by the Court of Appeal that the No-Confidence Motion was invalidly passed, Guyanese and the people of the Caribbean is aware the Government is legally in place and that the 2019 work program for the respective Ministries and Agencies will be executed.

Responding to a question posed by a member of the executive on a proposal put forward to the body by President David Granger last year for the NTC to acquire a larger plot of land to build its Secretariat, Minister Allicock responded in the affirmative and the body will immediately resume discussions on the way forward.

The NTC is expected to present a draft of the design for the Secretariat and Minister Allicock encouraged the Executive to fast track the process.

Minister Allicock also noted that he is pleased that the NTC has completed its annual work plan and noted that the Village Improvement Plans being formulated by the respective villages must be executed so that villages can experience greater benefits.

“The VIP’s will allow you to have a better understanding of land management, management of the community resources in the best possible way and this is what is needed for us to be able to realize our dreams’, the Minister posited.

Some twenty million dollars was approved for the NTC for 2019 a twenty five percent increase from 2018, and Minister Allicock noted that while Government would like to provide a further increase, he reminded that such increase would come from taxes received which has to be dispersed throughout all the sectors.

He however encouraged village leaders to “create and open up the opportunity for businesses, let you villagers get into business this is what we have to be doing because the future looks very good because of our natural resources, and we are trying got get it organized so that the returns can come to us to have a financial resources available and then coming into your coffers, and that is why we must have this plan”.

Leaders were also encouraged to ensure their respective villages fully participate in the Revision of the Amerindian Act and “I’m hoping that communities and villages will continue to discuss and understand as much as possible the act and as I said form the beginning when we came into office a lot of Toshao’s had requested that we destroy the act and start a new one and a number of ideas came forth, but we believe that a lot of work was put into that act to get it where it was and is and what we saw most importantly, was that we need to build on it, strengthen the act and that is where you come in to help in that process’.

Among Minister Allicock’s concerns were several complaints received form villages as it relates to Toshao’s noting “ we have been having a lot of complaints by citizens of their leaders, they don’t want to listen to them, using up monies, using their own powers and doing things without consultation and that is bad and can be become a problem for the Toshao and we don’t want to go that way we would like you to fix it before it gets bad, power in your hands but not alone it is about communal power or collective power so we need to look at that and correct that”.

He encouraged the Executive to engage Toshao’s on a regular basis, while also encouraging the establishment of a body specifically designed to adequately address concerns emanating from villages.

The Executive was also invited to make representation on behalf of their respective villages at the Government’s Public Outreach scheduled for this Wednesday (tomorrow) at the Square of the Revolution beginning from 9:00hrs.

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