‘Engage residents, work in their best interest’ -Toshaos urged as regional conference opens


Toshaos of Region Nine (Upper Takatu-Upper Essequibo) were Friday encouraged to engage residents of their respective communities and serve in their best interest.

Both Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Sonia Parag and Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai made the urging on Friday at the opening of the Regional Toshaos Conference 2024.

Close to 60 Toshaos from communities across Region Nine gather annually at this conference to highlight the issues they confront, discuss possible solutions and craft a plan for the upcoming year.

“I want to signal immediately to all Toshaos. You are all leaders and collectively with the Village Council, decisions are taken.

“You and your Councillors have to work collectively in the best interest of the people,” Sukhai said as she reminded the Toshaos of Region Nine of their role.

And in the execution of their duties, Sukhai emphasized the importance of good governance, transparency and accountability.

“Leaders must analyze and be able to provide guidance,” she said.

Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai

Equally important, Sukhai noted, is that Toshaos empower and educate themselves so they don’t “fall prey” to other individuals who may have their motives and take advantage of the challenges of Indigenous people.

She further told the Toshaos that it is not an issue for them to partner outside of the government. However, she urged them to partner with “positive minds” who have their interest in mind.

“Your time is best spent listening to your people and working to bring positive development so that can move forward,” Sukhai said.

Noting that leadership comes in many forms, Minister Parag reminded the Toshaos that they were elected by residents who have vested their trust in them to develop their respective communities, lead and offer guidance so that they can elevate.

“Your village is looking to you to represent them for further development”

“Whenever you get development, you will get new infrastructure….And as you get all of those you will have to have maintenance,” Parag said.

Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Sonia Parag

The Government, Parag said, has consistently increased the regional budgets because they believe in developing every community to improve the livelihood of all.

“We intend to leave no one behind…All programmes and policies are geared towards the development of every category of persons in this country

“You are the leaders of your villages and therefore you must be transparent, you must be accountable for everything that you do,” Parag urged.

This year, the conference is being held under the theme “Good Governance through collaborative consultation and communication”.

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