President mandates Permanent Secretaries to fix issues in Amerindian communities
President Dr. Irfaan Ali charged permanent secretaries from various government ministries to address all outstanding issues raised by the more than 200 Toshaos in Georgetown for the annual National Toshaos Council Conference.
The annual conference opened on Monday at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre at Liliendaal, Georgetown.
And as he addressed the opening ceremony of the conference, President Ali mandated the permanent secretaries of each ministry to work with the Indigenous leaders to fix any outstanding issues.
“All Permanent Secretaries must be at the National Toshaos Council Conference tomorrow (Tuesday).
“They have the mandate of ensuring that within the boundaries of the law and regulations, and all outstanding issues must be completed,” Dr. Ali said.
He said engagements between the Toshaos and the government are an integral part of good governance. And he said the NTC conference is a place for “serious business.”
But even as he tasked the ministries’ finance officers with resolving any issues, the President highlighted the gains made in Indigenous communities during his tenure so far.
The Head of State said over $50 billion were spent on capital projects in Indigenous communities across the country over the past three years.
As part of that sum, more than $2 billion was spent on community development plans that led to the creation of more than 4,500 jobs. More than 1,000 projects, the President said, are being implemented in the hinterland and riverain communities across the country.
Additionally, he said about $3.2 billion in public assistance and pensions goes into the Indigenous communities.
There have also been developments in the education, healthcare, and agricultural sectors, according to the President.
The NTC conference is usually a space where the indigenous leaders raise many issues and engage government officials directly on resolving those. The NTC Chairman Derrick John spoke about some of what would be discussed this week.
At the end of the opening ceremony, six Indigenous communities got their land titles. Those communities are: Four Miles in Region One; Capoey, Akawini, Mashabo and Wakapoa in Region Two; and Paramakatoi in Region Eight.
Land titling is one of the areas of discussion that usually occupies much focus at the NTC conference. There will also be engagements on Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS).