Following the August 14 death of Muritaro toshao Lester Flemming, Minister of Amerindian Affairs Pauline Sukhai and other officials of the ministry and Region 10 officials visited the riverain community and held discussions with residents and the village council that saw the selection of a successor.
According to a report from the Government Information Agency (GINA), Minister Sukhai urged residents and members of the village council to continue working for the community’s development and informed them about the provision in the Amerindian Act, which allows for the appointment of a new toshao.
The option for a deputy toshao to be put in place was also raised until the next national toshaos elections in 2012.
“Me or the Government cannot come into your village and appoint anyone as toshao, the leader of the village must be appointed by the residents who live here,” Minister Sukhai was quoted as saying.
Following the discussions, residents called on the minister to immediately supervise the promotion of the deputy toshao to toshao, using the guidelines set out in the Act.
The lengthy process saw deputy toshao Owen Bowling being promoted after receiving majority support from the residents.
“The council now has one month to write to me and my ministry making the promotion official so that the toshao can be sworn in,” Sukhai informed the council.
She urged residents to work with the new toshao for the betterment of Muritaro. The village is located in the Upper Demerara River with a population of over 250 persons. Its main economic activities are logging, aquaculture, apiculture and small scale farming.
“The presidential grants for 2010 and 2011 will be available soon, so villagers along with council should sit and decide on priority projects for the community,” Sukhai noted.