“Move away from dependency syndrome” – Min. Allicock to NTC

DPI Guyana, Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock has urged the National Toshaos Council (NTC) to move away from what he has termed “the dependency syndrome.”

While addressing the misconception of the government’s non-support to the Indigenous body, Minister Allicock said, “The NTC must move away from being solely dependent on Government’s subvention to carry out their annual work programme.”

Sydney Allicock, Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs.

The NTC, comprising leaders from 215 indigenous communities and villages across the country, had received a $12M subvention in 2015 which was subsequently increased to $16M in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

“I agree that money will never be enough, not even for us at the ministry. We had a budget that was trimmed, and we had to use ways and means to do our work. If the body sits and strategizes, it can work for them”, Minister Allicock told the Department of Public Information (DPI) in a recent interview.

The Indigenous Affairs Minister stated that the NTC has the right to fundraise. He opined, “You have 215 communities, every Village Council has received funding or other support from the Government, for projects. If every village donates $2,000 per month, that is about $430,000 you are getting every month.  That would be able to assist the NTC to be organised, with their paperwork and stipends, and also have the opportunity to do project proposals and work with the communities to enhance projects, thereby, helping the communities to step up.”

Minister Allicock added that this is the kind of rationale that the Indigenous Peoples need to adapt and “think of how they can make money to satisfy their own needs. I am hoping one day we will be able to see it that way and when that starts to happen, it will catch on to the rest of Guyana”.

The Minister noted that from the inception, the idea was to ensure that the NTC functioned as an autonomous body, with no political interference. The Government, he said, sought to partner with the body, rather than compete with them.

This, however, has not been happening according to the Minister. “I have seen too much of idleness, focusing on looking at every little negative that has happened and blowing it out of proportion; when we should have been celebrating the little victories that we have.”

In moving forward, Minister Allicock expressed optimism that the government and the NTC can work together for the development of the indigenous peoples.

The Ministry has also facilitated executive members of the body on several outreaches to the communities, and the Government provided a plot of land for the body to construct its secretariat in the heart of the city.

 

By: Synieka Thorne

 

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