Three toshaos including a woman were elected to serve on the still to be formed Indigenous Peoples Commission (IPC) after more than 100 Amerindian leaders voted to elect representatives during the one-week Amerindian conference which ended yesterday.
Yvonne Pearson, Toshao of Mainstay/ Whyaka is the first woman elected to the IPC, a press release from the Government Information Agency (GINA) said. The other two appointees are PNCR Member of Parliament Dr George Norton of Riversview Village, Region Ten and Region Nine’s William Andries of Toka Village. The IPC is expected to address aspects of Amerindian rights and development.
GINA said the process was observed by the Guyana Elections Commission’s Calvin Benn and Joseph Gilgeous at the recent Amerindian conference hosted at the Guyana International Conference Centre at Liliendaal. Minister of Amerindian Affairs Carolyn Rodrigues and Minister within the Ministry of Education Dr Desrey Fox and other officials also attended the session.
Rodrigues said the elections were a historic moment for Guyana’s first peoples. She said the names of the elected members will be submitted to the National Assembly so that the Commission can be established.
Pearson said she would be honoured to serve on the Commission and pledges to address issues affecting the Amerindian community. She said communication is important and it is necessary for all communities to cooperate and to develop linkages.
Norton said the IPC members will be receptive to all suggestions from toshaos and he encourages them to speak out as it is the only way for the communities to progress.
In response toshao Andries said he will be dedicated to his work to ensure the betterment of all Amerindians.
GINA said 111 toshaos participated at the conference where village leaders were trained to manage greater responsibilities in their communities, and other issues addressed.