Sev­eral NTC ex­ec­u­tives stage walk­out

Weekend Mirror - - EDITORIAL -


11th An­nual Na­tional Toshaos Coun­cil ( NTC) con­fer­ence was dogged by more con­tro­versy on Wed­nes­day, as sev­eral mem­bers of the NTC ex­ec­u­tive staged a walk­out over what they de­scribed as an at­tempt by Gov­ern­ment to ‘ un­der­mine’ the is­sues be­ing put for­ward for dis­cus­sion. Vice Chair­man of the NTC, Lenox Shu­man, told Guyana Times that toshaos were sup­posed to have pre­sen­ta­tions on Wed­nes­day, and as they were try­ing to con­sol­i­date their po­si­tion with Gov­ern­ment, so that they could have mean­ing­ful ac­tion, there was no min­is­ter present un­til the evening.

“The fact that seven Gov­ern­ment min­is­ters showed up just to en­gage the NTC at this very last mo­ment is ques­tion­able. It brings to my mind the ques­tion of sin­cer­ity. How sin­cere, and what kind of ac­tion (are you) go­ing to get for these peo­ple? And I see it as an at­tempt to un­der­mine the cred­i­bil­ity of the NTC; to un­der­mine the pro­posed work that the NTC is do­ing, and to en­sure that the NTC re­mains weak,” he said.

Shu­man said the walk­out may be viewed — or spun — in the light that some of the NTC ex­ec­u­tives were ir­re­spon­si­ble, but that is far from the truth. He said the NTC felt it should take a stand, and the Amerindian peo­ple’s is­sues should be treated with im­por­tance.

So f ar, I ndige­nous Peo­ples Af­fairs Min­is­ter, Vice Pres­i­dent Sydney Al­lic­ock; Min­is­ter within the Indige­nous Peo­ples Af­fairs Min­istry, Va­lerie Gar­rido-Lowe; Nat­u­ral Re­sources Min­is­ter Raphael Trot­man; Pub­lic Se­cu­rity Min­is­ter Khem­raj Ram­jat­tan; At­tor­ney Gen­eral and Le­gal Af­fairs Min­is­ter Basil Wil­liams; and Min­is­ter within the Com- mu­ni­ties Min­istry, Dawn Hast­ings-Wil­liams, have attended the con­fer­ence.

Shu­man ar­gued that while most of the is­sues are dis­cussed dur­ing the day — and would re­quire the min­is­ters to be there to di­a­logue with the toshaos – the min­is­ters have been showing up late in the evenings. “And just to be frank: I don’t see the NTC to be a side chick or a side thing for the min­is­ters — that they could only see us in the nights. What is wrong with dur­ing the day? My nights are my nights. And we deal with our com­mu­nity is­sues dur­ing the day time?” he fur­ther lamented.

Although t his i ssue has cre­ated some un­ease among par­tic­i­pants at the con­fer­ence, the NTC vice chair­man has said the ex­ec­u­tive is still hope­ful that most of the is­sues raised would be ad­dressed.

“When we present,

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