Newly-elected toshao Marbell Thomas, 34, one of 10 women who have been elected to head their villages, says she is better prepared to serve her community, Campbelltown, in Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni), having already served in the position when she was younger.
Thomas was elected toshao in 2012 and served until 2015, but did not seek reelection until earlier this week.
“I have gained some experience and I have observed the work of the last council. I am now more confident that I can do a better job than my last term,” Thomas told Stabroek News during a telephone interview.
Addressing teenage pregnancy and incest in the community, she noted, are high on her list of priorities.
“Over the past three years, we have had 10 pregnancies among girls between the ages of 12 and 14,” she said. Some were due to incest.
According to Thomas, Campbelltown, which has a population of about 1,000 people, has many social and economic problems and she intends to seek help at the governmental and non-governmental levels to address them.
In discussions with her fellow villagers, she said, she has heard some of the complaints and social problems must be addressed alongside the economic problems.
Issues pertaining to the elderly and pensioners, she noted, have to be addressed. The high prices of commodities in the area due mainly to mining, she added, have left many pensioners in need because of insufficient funds.
Thomas is hoping that a new council would be able to identify lands on which a multipurpose building could be built, not only to house the village office but also for use as a source of income for the village.
Thomas is one of 10 women confirmed as having been elected to date to serve as toshaos of their respective villages. Elections in the 178 villages across the country began on May 15th and are due to end on June 15th.
While it was reported that a woman was also elected to lead Achiweb, no name was provided to Stabroek News up to press time.
Over 100 communities have completed elections.
The new women toshaos elected in Region One are Cherie Pearson (Santa Cruz), Whanita Phillips (Santa Rosa), Sharmain Rambajue (Baramita) and Genevieve Vansluytman (Father’s Beach, Moruca Mouth.)
The other women elected toshaos are Beverley Clenkian (Pakuri, Region Four), Bonita Xavier (Kamana), Brenda Gomes (Kumu, Region Nine), Loretta Fiedtkou (Muritaro), Nicole Daniels (Great Falls, Region 10) and Thomas (Campbelltown).
A number of women have also been elected as senior councillors for satellite villages in the larger communities. At Santa Rosa, where the toshao is a woman, five senior councillors on the 21-member council are women. They are Sharon Atkinson (Santa Rosa and Island), Tracy Hetsburger (Huradiah), Angela Gildharie (Karaburi0, Karen Williams (Coco and Island), and Elieni La Rose (Kumaka).
In Annai in Region Nine, Jackie Allicock was elected senior councillor of Surama.
Meanwhile in Micobie village on the Potaro in Region Eight, there was a tie between two candidates: Cleveland Henry and Julie Singh. They both got 65 votes. In keeping with the Amerindian Act, the returning officer has declared a tie and new elections are to be held within seven days.
Also reelected in recent days were Nicholas Fredericks of Shulinab, in Region Nine, and David Wilson, of Akawini, in Region Two. Howard Cornelius is also the new toshao of Wakapao, in Region Two.
Other toshaos elected in Region One are Raymond James (Sebai), Orin Fernandes (Chinese Landing), Sherman Edwards (Kokerite), Rimple Williams (Waikarebi), Limbert Henry (Kariako), Allan Henry (Warapoka), Peter Joseph (Assakata), Paul Pierre (Kwebanna), Learmond Emmanuel (Waramuri) and Shambach John (Manawarin).
Hilton Williams is now the toshao of Santa Mission in the Kamuni Creek, Region Three, and Kenki Yaimo has been elected for Cashew Island in Region Six. Those elected in Region Ten are Ricky Boyle (Kimbia), Wayvon King (Wiruni), Winsbert Benjamin (Hururu), Ken Campbell (Wikki-Calcuni), Orlayne Williams (Malali), Andre Lindy (Sandhills), Flagan Carter (Rockstone), and Kenneth Edwards (Riverview).