“Rupununi Toshaos have all refuted allegations of “rigging” – PM Nagamootoo

DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Newly-elected Rupununi toshaos have all refuted allegations of “rigging” in the recently held National Village Council Elections.

The 57 toshaos, as well as councilors, have openly and loudly affirmed “Yes!” to the question; “Were your elections free and fair?” This was stated by Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo in his weekly column ‘My Turn’. Prime Minister Nagamootoo said that even though he is still recovering after his surgery, he accepted an invitation from Regional Chairman of the Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo, Brian Allicock, to attend the Regional Toshao’s Conference in Lethem last Friday.

During May and June, elections were held in 115 Amerindian villages, together with some 46 satellite communities. The Prime Minister said that the Opposition may have reasons to be bitter, as many of the toshaos who were once openly associated with the current Opposition party, have been replaced by younger leaders. Among the new toshaos, there are 14 women.

Unmoved

Prime Minister Nagamootoo, in his column, said that he did not plan to speak at any length at the Toshao’s Conference, but, “As a politician who had seen many battles, I was forced into a comprehensive rebuttal of the allegations made by the Opposition, which was represented by three sitting Members of Parliament.”

He stated that he understood that the opposition’s intention was “to do a sting job” to whip up rage amongst the toshaos: “So, they made multiple allegations about elections rigging, gerrymandering of village borders, lack of consent, inadequate funds for Amerindian development, and failure of the Hinterland Employment and Youth Service (HEYS). I had anticipated that the Opposition would encourage toshaos to walk out by the time I got to the podium. But the village leaders were unmoved by the staccato of false claims.”

Prime Minister Nagamootoo noted that those in attendance showed that they knew better, as they eagerly awaited his address. “By the time I was finished, the elite corps of Oppositionists unceremoniously walked away”.

The Prime Minister said that it is clear that the message of development is reaching receptive ears in Upper Takatu/Upper Essequibo, and the tune of “rigging” is no longer pleasing to the ears. “The Opposition cannot go against the tide of cooperation across party lines for community development. He noted that Indigenous Peoples are more likely to be convinced with what they see, rather than being fooled by politicians who peddle propaganda about suspected rigging and conjured future rigging of elections…The Opposition must either dump that old tune or its current leadership or both,” the Prime Minister noted.

By: Gabreila Patram.

Images: Keno George.

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