PPP express concerns with management of Indigenous Affairs; Gov’t says it’s their imagination
As the meeting of the National Toshaos Council Conference approaches, the Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) has raised several concerns with the management of Indigenous Affairs. The meeting will be held under the theme, “Steadfast Indigenous Leadership towards Territorial Integrity and Sustainable Livelihood.”
The PPP deemed the government’s move in relation to the management of Indigenous Affairs as “disrespect and disregard of Indigenous People.”
The party, through executives Gail Teixeira, Pauline Sukhai and Member of Parliament, Yvonne Pearson, called out the government on what the PPP perceives to be extremely disturbing and alarming trends in behaviour being meted out or not extended to Amerindians.
Specific reference was made to the disbanded Community Support Officer Programme which has been replaced with the Hinterland Employment and Youth Service Programme.
The MPs also noted that lack of information on the land titling and demarcation programmes.
According to the MPs, there is nothing new being brought to the NTC and the commitments made during the 2015 conference still remain untouched.
“Our big question is ‘within one year, what changes were there for the indigenous people?’ be out in the fields and talking to the people, there is nothing new to add to 2016 celebration. In fact, as I just mention, infringement of our lands, as indigenous people of Guyana, we have land issues” PPP/C Member of Parliament, Yvonne Pearson highlighted.
The Government was also accused of the conference to garner support for the PNC/R congress this weekend, thus the reason for rescheduling it from July to August.
Also hosting a Press Conference on Friday was Minister of Indigenous Affairs, Sydney Allicock who responded to the claims.
He noted that “every group or every person has the right to express their imagination and that is the work of the opposition, they will look for every little thing that would look suspicious and I believe there is an old saying ‘no thief man never like to see another man walking with a bag or another thief man walking with a bag.”
It was disclosed that mining, social, land titling and demarcation issues are just some of the many concerns more than 200 Toshaos from Amerindian villages across the country will be discussing at this the upcoming National Toshaos Council Conference.
Chairman of the Council, Joel Fredericks said the indigenous leaders are hoping to use the event to engage the government on ways they can work together to address the concerns that will be raised at the conference.
“We will share with the Ministers, different topics and we would like to hear what are their plans for indigenous development so that we can know where we can fit into contributing to the development of this country” the Chairman explained.