‘Accountability matters’ – Min. Allicock tells residents of Fairview
DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, October 2, 2019
The issue of accountability was highlighted as Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Hon. Sydney Allicock met residents of Fairview during a community meeting over the weekend.
The minister was part of an exercise that saw several government ministers fanning out across the Rupununi Region over the weekend to meet and listen to residents’ concerns and to also craft solutions.
Minister Allicock underscored the importance of holding the village council meetings regularly. These, he noted, are necessary to keep villagers abreast of the state of its finances, and to better plan activities, and budget for the community’s needs.
The community of Fairview receives payments from Iwokrama for logging on community lands. Currently, this has amounted to $13M; however, the community was unaware that this amount was in the community’s bank account.
“As a council, what you need to do is organise public meetings with the residents. This is where you can craft ideas and projects that can develop the community and importantly budget for these plans as a group… so you say we did this from our own money,” Minister Allicock said. “Village property belongs to everybody, and therefore, everyone should have a say in how the funds are spent… use the resources that are coming in to develop your community, create jobs for your people,” he advised.
The minister noted that with the revenue coming into the Village Council’s treasury – from the logging. Additionally, Fairview can opt to pay their Toshao and councillors or other administrative personnel if they so desire. To this end, he suggested they consider having an accountant manage their finances.
“Every village council could have an accountant being paid so that when one council leaves, that person continues so that proper accountability could continue.”
The minister urged the villagers to seek support through their partnership with Iwokrama to have members of their community trained in accounts management and other areas.
Minister Allicock advised the villagers to take their responsibility seriously when elected to the village council.
Reminding that the council officials are there “to make proper representation on behalf of the other villagers… don’t let greed overcome you or dishonesty these things are very serious,” he underscored.
Minister of Business, with responsibility for Tourism, Hon. Haimraj Rajkumar, in his remarks, reminded of the president’s plans to bridge the gap between the coast and the hinterland, through development education, health and other social sectors. The minister also spoke of the current administration’s commitment to issue land titles to indigenous communities.