178 Village Councils elected countrywide

DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Some 178 new Village Councils have been elected following the successful holding of elections in indigenous communities across the country.

Of the 178 village leaders elected, 78 were women. Sharmain Rambajue of Baramita, Beverley Clenkian of Pakuri, Whanita Phillips of Santa Rosa, Odelia Francis of Kumu and Jackie Allicock Surama are just four of the women serving for the first time.

Young men are also taking up similar responsibilities. Twenty-one-year-old Michael Thomas of Aishalton Village, Region Nine is one of the youngest toshaos to have been elected. Over the past two weeks, Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock has been meeting with the new councils and urging them to practise good governance and account for community resources. “We (the government) have invested billions of dollars on procuring buses, ATVs, tractors, boat and engines and other projects in communities…It is taxpayers’ money that is being spent and the village councils must give account for every cent,” he told one group.

Minister within the Ministry, Valerie Garrido-Lowe has noted that with the influx of women and young leaders, a fresh perspective will be brought to the fore.

According to the minister, “as a government, we are encouraging robust management practices that are founded on the principles of transparency and accountability.  We are interested in changes from the community levels upwards. While the government will act as a partner to assist and facilitate the wishes and comfort of all the people of this nation, the participation of all is quintessential.”

Village council elections were held from May 15 to June 15. These persons will represent the 215 villages at the upcoming National Toshaos Councils (NTC) conference.  Elections for NTC will be held during the conference.

By: Synieka Thorne.

Images: Anil Seelall and Tejpaul Bridgemohan.