Political interference unacceptable — National Toshaos Council
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President David Granger, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo and Vice President and Minister of Indigenous People’s Affairs Sydney Allicock  with newly elected officials of the National Toshaos Council and other members of the Cabinet. [File Photo]
President David Granger, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo and Vice President and Minister of Indigenous People’s Affairs Sydney Allicock with newly elected officials of the National Toshaos Council and other members of the Cabinet. [File Photo]

THE National Toshaos Council (NTC) in a statement issued on Friday sought to warn against “creeping manipulation” of the body by officials of the Government. Following its executive conference last month, the NTC said under the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) administration, it was noticeable that the body’s political capital was a coveted asset which contributed to the then government wanting to control the body.
Despite raising these concerns however, the NTC sought to indicate that this might be a recurring feature, even with the change in Government.
“Under the current administration, there are political forces from within this administration that think it and see it fit to interfere with the workings of the NTC,” the statement said.
However, the body did not discredit the fact that there is a progressive and forward-looking Vice-President and Minister of Indigenous People’s Affairs, Sydney Allicock, who is willing to see the NTC as a more autonomous entity.
But with regard to the issue at hand, which the body feels strongly about, it expressed that it was most notable recently when a Government official called “the core of the NTC executive” to a meeting, attempting to manipulate its work and dictate what the body should and should not do.
“… during a recent meeting, the said official declared that, ” ‘I do not respect the decision of 20 people in a room making decisions for all indigenous peoples in [over] 200 communities,’” the NTC said.
This, the body noted, is a very troubling development, as it is coming in the early stages in the political life of the new administration.
“Should this continue, it will leave the NTC, once again, as the grandchild who was left with a huge political inheritance and never allowed to leave home,” the body said.
Efforts to contact both the Minister of Indigenous People’s Affairs and his advisor, Mervyn Williams, on Thursday proved futile.
The NTC was established under the Amerindian Act of 2006. It consists of all toshaos of Guyana and represents more than 200 indigenous communities, which together have a population of more than 75,000.
The NTC is a body corporate with an elected executive core. All members of the executive are elected in sub-regional elections held at the general assembly every three years.
All members of the core executive, chairman, secretary, treasurer, vice chair, assistant secretary, and assistant treasurer are elected by the 20-member executive.
The chair, secretary, and treasurer are elected at the General Assembly by the executive, while the other office bearers are elected at the Executive Conference by same.

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