NTC pushes for the formation of District Councils

DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, October 8, 2019

The National Toshaos Council (NTC) has been working along with several hinterland communities to establish fully functioning District Councils in all of the areas catered for in the Amerindian Act of 2006.

Currently, there are six functioning district councils which include; the South Rupununi District Council (SRDC), North Rupununi District Development Board (NRDDB), North Pakaraimas District Council, Upper Mazaruni District Council, Moruca District Council and the Region 10 District Council. However, the SRDC is the only legally gazetted council in the history Guyana.

Chairman of the National Toshaos Council (NTC), Nicholas Fredericks.

During a presentation of the National Toshaos Council’s 2018/2019 work programme at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre on Monday, Chairman of the NTC, Nicholas Fredericks explained that over the past year, the NTC has been advocating for District Councils to function as they should. He noted that these councils can play a leading role in the development of their respective districts.

The NTC chairman, therefore, urged the village leaders to endorse the formation of these very important bodies.

“For those communities who are not in support of the district council movements, I would now encourage you to ensure that you are unifying yourself to form these district councils. It is a very important body, a legal body according to the Amerindian Act and is one that allows you to make collective representation instead of just one man fighting for himself,” Fredericks told the over 212 Toshaos gathered in Georgetown for the 13th NTC conference.

He said, once the NTC receives all the letters from the village councils supporting the establishment of District Councils, the NTC will draft a concept letter to be sent to the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs for gazetting.

According to the Amerindian Act of 2006, the Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs may, by order establish a District Council, if at least three Village Councils, make such a request in writing to the minister. Each Village Council has to obtain the approval of its Village general meeting. A District Council comprises the Toshao and one Councillor from each Village in the District and may elect a Chairman, a secretary and a treasurer.

The functions of a District Council are; to coordinate the activities of the Village Councils in the District; to work for consistency in the rules made by the Village Councils as far as is reasonable; to give advice to the Village Councils and Villages on issues of common interest; to plan and develop programmes for the District on environmental protection and management, health care, education, transportation, culture, and economic development; and to provide technical advice and assistance to the constituent Village.