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Lethem Toshaos urged to execute mandates with transparency, accountability

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Amerindian leaders in villages across Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) have been firmly reminded of their crucial responsibility to conduct village affairs with transparency and accountability while fulfilling their mandated duties.

This reminder was issued at the opening of the Regional Toshaos Conference held in Lethem by Ministers of Amerindian Affairs Pauline Sukhai and Local Government and Regional Development Sonia Parag.

The Toshao plays a significant role that is closely connected with the village council. And so, Minister Sukhai noted the importance of leaders ensuring that decisions are made collectively, highlighting the value of consensus and collaboration within the community.

Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai delivering the charge

She added that while Toshaos have a special role outlined in the Amerindian Act of 2006, as a leader, he/she must ensure the body, made up of councillors, carries out its functions staying true to the people. 

“Collectively, you and your councillors have to work in the best interest of the people [and] the Toshao has a special role to ensure good governance, transparency and accountability…to ensure that the Village Council, conduct itself with good governance practices,” she underlined.

Referencing the theme ‘‘Good Governance through Collaboration, Consultation & Communication,” Minister Sukhai said villages also need to consult with the government when undertaking major initiatives.

Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Sonia Parag

Importantly, the minister expressed support for leaders in creating partnerships outside of the government. However, she cautioned that these partners must have the best interests at heart, and not seek to hinder development.

Meanwhile, every level of government is equally responsible for staying true to these core principles in executing their functions, Minister Parag reemphasised.

“Just like how we have the NDCs and the RDCs, you are the leaders of your villages…therefore, you must be transparent. You must be held accountable for everything that you do,” the Local Government Minister enforced.

Significant improvements in various sectors due to continuous increases in allocations channeled in the region by government were highlighted as well.

Scores of Toshaos attended the Regional Toshaos Conference in Lethem

The $5.8 billion allocated in the 2024 fiscal plan, will bring about more advancements in the health, education, welfare, agriculture, environment, and public infrastructure sectors.  More than $100 million will be expended this year to improve key infrastructure, including roads, bridges and culverts.

“What matters to us is not just standing here and giving you a figure,) but it’s the impact of what that figure will do for you, will have on you,” Minister Parag underscored.

Regional Executive Officer (REO) Karl Singh, representatives from the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI), Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA), health, agriculture, and public works among other regional representatives are there to share updates with the leaders.

The two-day RDC-organised event, provides leaders with a forum to provide recommendations and raise issues and matters which can be addressed at the regional level before the National Toshaos Conference (NTC) is convened in August.

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