Land issues among areas of interest for newly elected Region Nine NTC reps
The Regional Toshaos’ Meeting hosted in Region Nine was deemed a success, as the leaders engaged with His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali and several Ministers of Government to address issues affecting the various communities.
The two-day conference saw some 34 Toshaos and several senior councillors from villages within the region converging to elect regional representatives for the National Toshaos’ Council (NTC).
Toshao Shamir Khan of Yupukari was elected to represent Central Rupununi, Toshao Lenny Moses of Massara was elected to represent the North Rupununi and South Pakaraimas and Toshao Michael Thomas was elected to represent South Central and Deep South Rupununi.
The Toshaos highlighted some of the issues they intend to make representations for at the national level.
Toshao Khan said he plans to work with the relevant agencies to make his community and the Rupununi in general, a better place.
“I would like to see for the entire region that more education opportunities arise like online learning, right now I’m in the process of building my ICT Hub, hopefully it could be completed, it we can have all the furnishing and all the electronics installed that our kids can get more opportunities to learning, because over the years it has been really good but when you have a lot of people sign in at the same time it’s really difficult for us to really kind of communicate, you know if you wanna do emails sometimes you cannot really get through.”
He hopes for better quality internet, which will allow children to learn and be on par with children from the coast. Job creation and marketing for craft items are also some of the areas that he will focus on.
Toshao of Aishalton, Michael Thomas’ main concern is land rights.
“We have been talking about land rights, land issues, we have been advocating for our extensions to our villages, to our titled lands and we have been advocating for other villages that have not been titled as yet, so that is first on our agenda and I would like to see that happen during my term as Toshao,” Thomas said.
He said he hopes to see improvements in the health and education sectors, such as upgrading of schools and district hospitals, upgrading of dormitories for the secondary schools, and for villages to develop themselves through agriculture.
“I would like to see where livelihood projects are being push through for our communities where we can earn from our own resources,” Thomas noted.
He noted that it is important that Toshaos work with the Government and other agencies to improve village livelihoods.
Thomas noted that COVID-19 has affected income generation in the villages and every aspect of village life. He noted that the regional Toshaos’ meeting gives an opportunity for Toshaos to have discussions with sector heads and the President.
“Having this regional Toshaos’ conference here in Lethem in central Rupununi is very important and we know that it will bring benefit to us,” Thomas said.
Meanwhile Lenny Moses believes that having regional meetings give the village leaders a better opportunity to interact directly with leaders of the country on a one-on-one basis as opposed to the national meeting where there is usually limited time for discussions.
“This initiative I see that it would make a difference given the chance for all leaders to saw what they have to say to represent I think that is the best thing to do for me,” Moses said.
The next regional Toshaos’ meeting will be held on September 10 and 11, at Mahdia Region Eight.