Toshaos want banks, ATVs, clean water & planting materials


Toshaos from several indigenous communities on Thursday raised a plethora of issues affecting their communities during the ongoing National Toshaos Conference.

In the presence of several government ministers at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, the Indigenous Chiefs spoke about access to clean drinking water and the need for ATVs, better infrastructure and farming materials.

Oswald Brescenio, the Deputy Toshao for Santa Cruz, in Region One says he is concerned about the health of the 481 persons living in his community.  His concern stems from residents utilising water from the river and creek and he believes this is the cause of sickness in the community.

As such, he asked that the government support the community by providing black tanks where water can be stored for everyday use.

“I have 87 families living there and they are still drinking pond waters and river waters from Barama and I believe it’s giving people diarrhea, and vomiting.

“I don’t know if it’s because of climate change, however, I am requesting for 87 tanks. One for every family,” Brescenio said.

Oswald Brescenio, the Deputy Toshao for Santa Cruz, in Region One at the National Toshaos Conference (Photo: News Room/ August 31, 2023)

The deputy toshao also said access to solar panels for households is needed. He noted that the residents never benefited from the government’s distribution of solar panels to indigenous communities.

Meanwhile, Lynn Hernandez, the chairperson for the Mabaruma Settlement said residents travel long hours to Port Kaituma to access financial institutions. The chairwoman said it is time that Mabarauma has its own bank since it is a township catering to the needs of many residents.

Then at Region Eight, Tom Boodram, the toshao of Chenapou said, “I am requesting for airstrip upgrading at Chenapou and the Health Centre fence needs renovating.”

Other issues battling Chinapow and other indigenous communities include the need for vehicles and vessels to travel in and around the communities, the toshaos said. For emphasis, Toshao Boodram said it costs a person $200,000 to travel from Chenapou to Paramakatoi and to return.

“A school boat, 18 feet aluminum and a 40 horsepower Yamaha and an ATV for the village because the distance from Chenapou to Paramakatoi where we go to attend meetings every now and then, we hire ATV from private owners,” Boodram said.

Meanwhile, Jermin Boyal, the toshao of Warapoka said, “In terms of communication, I know it’s basically private sector but with a population of 19,000 plus residents within the district, we are requesting that one of the telecommunications companies visit and do a survey to have phone towers erected.”

He also asked about a banking institution being constructed for residents of Moruca.

Many other representatives and toshaos had similar requests. They highlighted the need for better roads, assistance with planting material and farm animal supply through the Ministry of Agriculture.

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