(Department of Public Information) – The National Toshaos’ Council (NTC) Conference will not be held this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was disclosed by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs, Sharon Hicks.
Speaking with the Department of Public Information (DPI), Hicks said a team headed by the Minister, Pauline Sukhai, will instead, visit the different regions and meet the leaders there.
“The Ministerial team will go out to the regional sub districts and have consultations with the Toshaos so we will be engaging them this year, but it is impossible to have them in Georgetown this year,” she said.
The NTC Conference is an annual feature on the Ministry’s calendar. It gives the Indigenous village leaders from across the country an opportunity to meet different sector heads in Georgetown and have their issues addressed. It is also an opportunity to create linkages in line with the development agenda.
Meanwhile, Secretary of the National Toshaos’ Council, Russian Dorrick, said they are ready to work with the new Government and adapt to its plans for Amerindian development.
Dorrick opined that meeting the village leaders in their regions was a good way to have their issues addressed promptly and to get a first-hand look at the reality on the ground.
He noted that more than 200 village leaders usually gather in Georgetown for the Conference and not a lot of time is available for one-on-one engagements.
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the NTC Secretary noted that there are still several issues that need to be addressed across sectors like housing, mining, land, forestry, environmental issues and security.
Dorrick added that the NTC is looking forward to visiting the various regions with the Ministerial team and meeting the community leaders in its continued efforts to support their development.
The meetings are expected to begin in November.
The National Toshaos Council was established under the Amerindian Act of 2006 and comprises all Toshaos in Guyana, and is governed by a 20-member executive committee.