The quarter acre plot of land in Sophia, Georgetown, which had been allocated for the building of the National Toshaos Council (NTC) Secretariat, is not large enough and President David Granger has urged that a larger plot from “freed up” GuySuCo lands be made available soon to the group, Minister of State Joseph Harmon announced yesterday.
“Some of the lands that has been freed up by GuySuCo, these are some of the lands that His Excellency is looking at. He would like to see an NTC headquarters of the stature that we in Guyana have of our [Indigenous People], so he wants to give them a nice land and have subsequent development of that land to take place,” Harmon told reporters yesterday at a post-Cabinet press conference.
He said that the President had addressed the matter of giving lands for a Georgetown Head Office to the NTC, but since then he had been reviewing updates and felt that the organisation needed land space to facilitate outdoor activities and events.
“The president addressed this matter and he did in fact say that he had promised the toshaos that he would provide land for the building of the headquarters,” Harmon said.
“Since then, the president in reviewing this, felt the land was a very small area and would basically just take the building alone, and with discussions with the Minister of Indigenous Affairs, who was himself this morning in discussions with the new Chairman of the Toshaos Council, said that they are looking at allocating a larger tract of land, so that the headquarters of the NTC can be set up and be well organised,” he added.
In 2016, the NTC had made a request for a plot of land to build a secretariat in keeping with the Amerindian Act, which provides for the NTC to establish a Secretariat. The NTC had explained to government the importance of having a secretariat that was central and had asked for lands in the capital for its construction.
Granger agreed to look into the request and the following year, at the annual NTC, he announced that the lands had been allocated and there was a sod turning ceremony. An artist’s impression of the facility was revealed and its construction was to be funded by the Chinese government.
This newspaper understands that the current blueprint of the Secretariat reveals that if the building is constructed on the proposed site there would be limited space for outdoor events, such as those held during Amerindian Heritage Month.
It was against this background that President Granger decided that more lands would be given and that provisions would be made for adequate landscaping of the yard space.