Symbol of authority must be returned to village leaders- Minister Allicock
GINA, Guyana, Monday, May 15, 2017
The Government will be working along with the Indigenous communities across the country to restore the symbol of authority to Toshaos.
This was announced by Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock, as he was addressing residents of Bethany during a recent ministerial outreach in Region Two.
“Years ago when you go into a community, when a Toshao speaks it is because he would have already consulted with his/her people, and they have been given the authority to say what has to be done…and anytime anyone goes to that community they go to the Toshao first because in those days they had the symbol of authority and that we want to bring back,” Minister Allicock explained.
Minister Allicock said that this is provided for under the Amerindian Act, under Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC), hence, the ministry is sharing the idea with communities.
Minister Allicock used the example of Parliament, where the members have to bow to the Speaker of the National Assembly, when leaving the room while Parliament is in session.
“Law and order and respect must be restored, it is time the young people especially respect their elders,” Minister Allicock emphasised.
Over the past years, Indigenous communities have been complaining about persons entering their communities without seeking the permission of the Village Council or consulting with the Toshao of the village. There are also instances where contractors and engineers enter a particular community and started doing works without informing the Village Council.
According to Amerindian Act of 2006, an individual entering a particular Amerindian Community must be given the permission of the Village Council to do so. The Village Council then has the right to accept or refuse that person entry into their village.
However, the Act further states that if a person is on official business of the Government, that person does not need permission, but rather, must inform the Village Council of the nature of visit.
By: Synieka Thorne