Several NTC executives stage walkout
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,