As Toshaos from across the country gathered at the Liliendaal Convention Centre for the annual Toshaos Council Meeting last week, we asked them what were some of the difficulties faced in their community and what are their expectations coming out of the meeting.

Doreen Jacobis

Doreen Jacobis- Tapakuma/St Denny’s Mission, Region Two
`One of our issues is the solar panels but I’m happy to report that we received our solar panels on Monday last and two technicians are currently installing them at 110 homes so every household will be having this. We have the water project. Presently, we have a new housing scheme and we are trying to get (GWI) and the technical persons to go there and organize this. I’m hoping that the president will support our community development projects. One of my projects is to build a guest house because we are looking to build on tourism and that is one of the reasons people don’t come there. This will enhance our village and income as well.’

Albertino Peters

Albertino Peters- Fairview, Region 9
`We don’t really have any particular serious issue but what we are focusing on right now is tourism. That is high on our agenda. We are trying to encourage people and create employment among ourselves and to become self sufficient. We want to start a small sawmill logging exercise to help create employment in our community. A next priority of ours is transportation because we live 102 kilometers away from our administrative office, Annai. Agriculture also is compulsory for us to address. I want some of the promises that they put out on the manifesto to be kept. I want to be impressed.’

Gerald Edward- Karasabai, Region 9
`Our village is the gateway to Region Eight. Some of our main issues right now are our land demarcation for the entire Karasabai district. It was highlighted before and it is still to be done. The president has committed that land titling and the land demarcation process will continue and we are hoping that it would be on their agenda this year. We have proposed three community development programmes and have submitted those to the ministry with the hope of getting the funding and the president has said that this is on his agenda. We are entitled to a secondary school but we still have to wait, we need to have more trained teachers.’

Gerald Edward

Rudolph Wilson- Akawini, Region 2
`Some of the things I would like to be addressed are the lack of trained teachers, transportation, proper demarcation for our titled land and we would also like to raise issues pertaining to the development in forestry and education. We need our hot meal programme in schools, we need an ATV for inspection purposes, for agriculture, we need equipment to do farming like chainsaws, cutlasses and different things. I hope to get different means and ways in which I can go about approaching whether it be the government, the region or different entities to get these things.’

Benedict Rodrigues- Karaburi, Region 1
`We need general development in our community but particularly in the roads, housing, farming and water. We received the solar panels in May of this year and they are working well so we are thankful for that. Karaburi is a wide area like 4 miles by 4 miles and each household has a solar panel. I hope some of our issues with demarcation will be addressed to the ownership of the Amerindian people.’

Rudolph Wilson

Dennis John- Senior Councillor, Wallaba, Region 1
`One of our problems is with the land boundaries because in my area, I understand that there is a state land and the people say they don’t want any state land because it is an Amerindian reservation so we need that to be clarified at this conference. We also have a project for a multipurpose building to be constructed in our area. We are looking forward to the support of this government in whatever I ask for. This is not my first attendance at this conference and in the past I’ve seen progress and I know this year I will see more development from under this government.’

Gloria Duarte- Senior Councillor, Rupertee, Region 9
`I will be talking about domestic violence, human trafficking and also illegal harvesting. The development for my community right now, is the road, the road is the problem. That is the main subject we would like to discuss. The condition is very bad right now right through to Lethem. We are looking to have some progress on this issue. We have a secondary school in Annai but there is a lack of qualified teachers.’

Benedict Rodrigues

Anita Nunes- Leader, Waikabra, Region 4
`In my community, we need to get our lands regularized and when that is done, we hope to get lights from the Guyana Power and Light and we are asking the Amerindian Ministry and the Government to help to get a well.
We are seeking financial support that will enable us to embark on a cash crop like brown beans or peanuts so we need all the financial assistance we can get in terms of fertilizers, planting materials, tools and a little assistance for those persons who will be working on the project. Added it to that, we are hoping to get transportation for the nursery school children and the secondary school children up to Friendship and Dora Secondary. That is what I am asking for and am hoping to achieve by coming to this conference.’

Joseph Stanislaus- Monkey Mountain, Region 8
`I want them to address education in my community because right now there are some children who pass their national grade six assessment and they are still in the primary level although they got good grades but there is no secondary department. At Paramakatoi, there is no accommodation for them, it’s about 25 children. I would like them to build a secondary department because even if there was space at Paramakatoi, that would be a far walk for those small children. Also, the roads need maintenance work so I want that to be taken care of. We use solar panels which we received last year October for electricity but only 20 were received and there are 149 households. They said they are working on it but I am hoping that they could speed up this process.’

Gloria Duarte

Desmond James- Red Hill, Region 1
`One of our main problems is transportation for sick people mainly. We need fast boats to take patients to the hospital in case of emergencies because two years ago, two patients died one after the other due to transportation difficulty. We need a faster boat because this was a mother and daughter who died on the way to the hospital. Another issue we have is the nursery school, we don’t have one and we have about 70 children at that age. There is also a problem with the water system. They put up a well about seven years ago but onto now nobody can use it because the water is not good. I want the government to help in any way possible to get these issues addressed and we would be thankful.’

Desmond James
Joseph Stanislaus
Anita Nunes
Dennis John

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