Chief of Pakuri Village Lenox Shuman will be returning to Canada after his three-year term as village leader comes to an end in May.
An airline pilot by profession, the Indigenous leader, who also serves as the Vice-Chairman of the National Toshaos Council (NTC), returned to Guyana after the May, 2015 general and regional elections. He was elected Toshao of Pakuri Village in July, 2015 and Vice-Chairman of the NTC the following December.
However, Shuman told Sunday Stabroek in an interview that while he does not regret his decision to return home to serve his community, he and his family will be returning to Canada later this year.
He noted that the decision was made a month and a half ago and was based on a “multitude of issues,” including the dynamics of the local education system and the lack of respect shown by both Ministers of Government and Members of the Opposition when conducting business in the National Assembly.
“I do not regret that decision at all. It gave me a great opportunity to contribute towards the development of my people, my community and my country and given the right environment and indicators, we would have been happy to stay, but as it is right now, that environment does not exist,” Shuman said. “I think for too long everyone in Guyana has accepted mediocrity and we have come to think that it is normal without wanting to institute change,” he added.
Shuman’s tenure as village leader of Pakuri, an indigenous community located along the Mahaica River, will come to an end in May, upon the conclusion of the National Election of Toshaos, which is held every three years.
The election of Toshaos across Guyana will be followed closely by the election of a new executive body of the NTC.
‘Stand your ground’
Shuman, known for wearing the traditional Indigenous lap during official functions, has previously stressed that although he has attempted to truly represent his people as Toshao, the finances are tight and the temptation to compromise as a leader and travel a road that is highly undesirous and disreputable exists.
When asked if he had any advice for the person who will succeed him as the Village Chief, Shuman said, “Ensure what you are doing will be for the people and stand your ground… remember to always govern with transparency and accountability.”
In 2016, Shuman had voiced his concerns about what he considered to be the lack of efforts to reintegrate remigrants into the Guyanese Society, as he shared his own struggles as a returning Guyanese hoping to help develop Guyana.
He explained that before relocating to Guyana, he was inform-ed of vacancies at the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority and having been told that he was amply qualified, believed he could help improve aviation safety and assist in elevating the aviation standards.
His ultimate goal was to help the Cheddi Jagan International Airport at Timehri earn a Cate-gory One Status.
At the time of that interview, Shuman said he was still awaiting a response from the Authority regarding his application.
“The only person that gave me an opportunity was Gerry Gouveia and Roraima, but
that opportunity would have detracted from my work as Toshao and I could not capitalise on it,” he had shared.
However, during the recent interview with this newspaper, the Indigenous leader noted that while he would have been offered jobs here, he does not find the compensation to be ample when compared to the investment made towards his education.