Polls for Amerindian village councils delayed until June

Elections for Amerindian leaders will now be held in June instead of next month, the National Toshaos Council (NTC) has decided.

“We had a lot of requests from villages seeking the rescheduling due to the general elections,” Chairman of the NTC Derrick John told Stabroek News on Thursday. He related that based on meetings with Attorney-General Anil Nandlall and Minister of Amerindian Affairs Pauline Sukhai, the NTC decided on Thursday that the toshaos elections will be rescheduled to June.

The last elections for Amerindian leaders were held in April, 2012.

20150307derrick johnAccording to the Amerindian Act, “elections shall be held in a village at intervals of not more than 36 and not less than 33 months under the direction of a returning officer.” The June date will be outside of this limit. John said that the ministers advised that as long as a majority of the villages request that the elections be postponed, “it can so happen.” He said that “quite a number” of villages requested a rescheduling of the elections though he could not give a number when asked as he said he was travelling. The NTC head said that they will be getting a written document from Nandlall on the matter.

According to the Amerindian Act, “the date of the election shall be fixed by the minister in consultation with the returning officer and the Minister may fix a date for the election of a Toshao which is different to the date fixed for the election of the councilors.”

It says that the returning officer shall give the Village Council a written notice of election not later than 35 days before election day, which shall confirm the day on which the election will be held; the hours between which voting may take place; and the location of the place of voting.

According to the law, when the Village Council receives the election notice the Village Council shall immediately call a Village general meeting and inform the meeting of the contents of the election notice. Additionally, not later than 60 days before the election date, the Village Council shall compile an electoral list of all adult residents; display the electoral list at the Village office and permit all residents to inspect it; and submit the electoral list to the returning officer.

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