Toshaos grateful for govt’s work

─ eager to become an Agricultural powerhouse once again

DPI, Guyana, Monday, May 13, 2019

“So far, under this Coalition Government in this short period of time, we have received a secondary department school which is housing approximately 180 students, we also received a doctor’s quarter, 3 culverts were built on 1,700 feet dam, with 500 feet of revetment work being done,” said Toshao of Waramuri Village, Learmond Emmanuel.

The Toshao, in expressing his gratitude, also indicated hopefulness for even more to be done for his Indigenous community, as had been outlined in the 2019 budget, he also attested to the benefits being derived from the 2019 presidential grant.

“So far, Seven Miles has been benefitting as a satellite area, where they are having a citrus farm, and most recently was able to receive their presidential grant to the sum of $800,000 whereby they requested an outboard engine and a boat, we received the engine, must say thanks to the government.”

This is in addition to the two boats and outboard engines handed over to the Toshaos of the villages of Warapoka and Waikrebi on Saturday to assist not only in the ferrying of patients who need external medical care but to aid in transporting pensioners as well.

Sentiments of similar nature arose as the councillor and Toshaos expressed their gratitude to the current administration for the works that they have done within the Santa Rosa community, despite the short time they have been in office.

Sharing her view at the end of a two-day consultation on the revision of the Amerindian Act 2006, Councilor of Santa Rosa Village, Sharon Atkinson said, “for us, Agriculture for the last two decades took a real dive down. The majority of us don’t believe in giving us a fish for a day but teach us, and we can leave and we can continue”. She expressed that handouts are not so beneficial, however, “we are happy with being trained, being given options, using our resources and I think that is the way Indigenous peoples, not only in Santa Rosa but across the country should go.” She gave insight into the Santa Rosa that she knew. “I grew up as a child seeing this village real productive, we never imported what we’re importing from Charity now, we had lots and lots of fruits, vegetables and all sorts of things, however, as an adult I can say I’ve seen under the last administration, the decline of agriculture in this village.”

Many of the residents shared a similar view, concerned that they have been importing vegetables and fruits from Charity, recalling the days when they would instead be the one sending produce out.

The Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affairs has been conducting consultations in the various Indigenous communities across Guyana, in a bid to gather consensus on submissions made for the review of the Amerindian Act of 2006. Thus far, the major issues raised revolve around the name of the act being changed from the Amerindian Act to the Indigenous Peoples Act, and issues regarding land titling and rights, especially with regards to mining operations being carried out on Indigenous lands.

Nikosi Bruce.

Images: Leon Leung.

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