‘Let’s work together’

Newly elected chairman of the NTC, Nicholas Fredericks (left) interacts with indigenous leader "Rainforest" following Wednesday's elections. (Samuel Maughn photos)

– new NTC chair tells government
– Allicock pledges support, strengthened relationship


Paul Pierre, new vice-chair of the NTC.

NEWLY-elected chairman of the National Toshaos Council (NTC), Nicholas Fredericks says the new executive of the indigenous body is ready to work with the government over the next few years on various areas of development. And Minister of Indigenous People’s Affairs, Sydney Allicock reciprocated, saying that government will continue to work along with the indigenous body as both sides recognise the work of each other in furthering the development of the nation’s first people over the past three years.

The officials shared their views on Wednesday afternoon at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre at Liliendaal following the elections of the new executive of the NTC. Fredericks was elected chairman unopposed as the 20-member executive appeared to have settled on his sole nomination when the elections commenced. The vice-chair position was eventually won by Paul Pierre, the former Regional Chairman of Region One (Barima/Waini) who served under the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) government in that portfolio.

Region One indigenous leaders applaud during the NTC elections on Wednesday afternoon.

Other members of the body are Russian Dorrick (Secretary), Marbel Thomas (Treasurer) and Loretta Feidtkou (Assistant Treasurer /Secretary). Toshao of Baramita, Sharmain Rambajue; Toshao Colin Adrian of Moraikobai , Toshao Beverly Clenkian of St Cuthbert’s Mission; Toshao Carl Peneux of Orealla;Toshao Mario Hastings of Kako; Toshao Rickey Boyle of Kimbia; Toshao Elizabeth Romascindo of Bumbury Hill and Toshao Edward McGarrel of Chenpau are among the other members of the council.

Frederick told the gathering that “we have a lot of work ahead of us.” He said that the work of the new executive will be challenging and he noted that there will be occasions when members will not be able to see “eye to eye” as he urged them to be united in their decision-making. He called on the village representatives to hold the district councillors accountable and to ensure their work benefits the community.

He said that the NTC has undertaken “a lot of work “in the hinterland including in Region One (Barima/Waini) , Region Two (Pomeroon/Supenaam) , Region Seven (Cuyuni/Mazaruni) and Region Nine (Upper Essequibo/Upper Takutu) over the years. He said mapping and land issues are topical issues which the body has had to deal with over the years.

“We have to realise that the leadership or being a Toshao is a very broad-base responsibility,” Fredericks said. He said favouritism and having no fear or favour are also key attributes which the village leaders must maintain, even as he urged them to be humble in power and firm in deliberations.

Newly elected leader of the NTC, Nicolas Fredericks, receives a head-dress from outgoing head, Joel Fredericks, during the ceremonial handing over of the leadership of the body.

Fredericks called on Minister Allicock and Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affairs, Valerie Garrido-Lowe to ensure both sides resolve whatever differences exist in a friendly and professional manner. He said over the past three years the NTC has had much “space” within which to operate, as he noted its ability to voice concern on issues affecting indigenous people. “Let us make this NTC one that will move all the activities that have started under the previous NTC,” Fredericks urged, as the gathering applauded.
Minister Allicock told the gathering that government has been working with the NTC over the past three years. He said indeed there have been “hurdles” over the years but he noted that it was nothing which could not be dealt with by both sides. He said the ministry is prepared to give support to the new NTC as he congratulated the new members of the body.

Minister of Indigenous People’s Affairs, Sydney Allicock as he addressed the gathering (Samuel Maughn photos)

Allicock expressed appreciation to the former executive and he expressed hope that those members continue to work for the rights of the nation’s indigenous people. He called on newly elected members to work in a transparent manner and to the benefit of the villagers.”Take on the responsibility and work for the people that you will represent,” he said. Allicock noted that they have been endowed with great responsibility by fellow leaders, noting that they have been entrusted with the mandate to further the rights of indigenous people. The annual NTC conference has seen government officials and the heads of state agencies interact with indigenous leaders on issues including land and demarcation matters, and the environment, among others. The conference will conclude on Friday.