Govt warns of crackdown on corrupt Toshaos

first_imgNTC’S criticism fallout…says officials unable to account for wealthAt the opening of the 2018 National Toshaos Conference, Government has been accused of breaking promises made to the National Toshaos Council (NTC); and Indigenous People’s Affairs Minister Sydney Allicock, in seeming retaliation, has taken a tough stance against toshaos who allegedly profiteer off public funds.Sitting emotionless throughout NTC Chairman Joel Fredericks’s speech, which lambasted Government for its sloth in keeping promises made to indigenous peoples, Minister Allicock, when his turn came to speak, issued an ominous warning to the effect that toshaos had better be able to account for personal financial gains.“I must say that we have not gone to take anybody to court because of mismanagement of the village funds. But for this next council, I would like to signal to the toshaos that we had three years to get it right. You have to prove that you got it right!” Allicock warned.“So those toshaos who have public property and homes and cannot give account for the funds they were given responsibility for, you will be called to answer for it!” he declared.“We still have some persons who do not want to hand over keys, but you were notIndigenous People’s Affairs Minister Sydney Allicock, during his address to the Toshao’s Councilput in that position on your own; people put you there. You are servants of the people. Let us talk it! Walk it! Reflect it!” Allicock charged.The minister also expressed expectations for the NTC. According to Allicock, the Indigenous Affairs Ministry has, over the past three years, worked on unifying communities and facilitating discourse. He expressed hope that the new council would continue in this vein.“In going forward as the newly and hopefully improved NTC, we must elect persons to the executive committee based on what they can and will do for all indigenous people of Guyana. We must elect people who place a high premium on accountability; not just for resources placed at their disposal, but also for their actions,” he admonished.The Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affairs (MoIPA) has been awarded $2.2 billion in the 2018 budget. Last year, Government provided a budgetary allocation of $16 million to the NTC. It is understood that individual communities have been crafting Village Improvement Plans (VIP).The VIP is an initiative birthed from the Sustainable Indigenous Villages and Communities Policy (SIV&CP). Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Alfred King, had last March said the MoIPA would be working with villages and communities in the Santa Rosa, Moruca Sub-district of Region One to implement their respective VIPs.King had been a member of a team led by Minister within the Indigenous Peoples Affairs Ministry, Valerie Garrido-Lowe, on a recent visit to Region One. King had explained the working of the VIP, and had claimed that its introduction was at an opportune time.During his presentation, King had said, “We are always going to use that as a model or framework to guide such development in communities; and I think the time is right now — after spending some time working on that plan in Region 9 — to roll it out as a national effort”.He had added, “It will require a number or resources, a lot of competence, a lot of technical support; and once there’s a good plan, where do you go next? Because a good plan just cannot make things happen; a good plan will just guide the process of development and/or implementing activities in a structured way.”last_img read more