A few days after my recent column on some good news items for Guyana, I was hit with another example as I found myself as an observer at the National Toshaos Conference at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre at Liliendaal. This one was in the “you live and learn” category, because if you had asked me how many toshaos we have in Guyana, my spontaneous answer would have been around 100 or so. There in the Conference Centre I was learning that it was more than double that – or 209. To say I was surprised is putting it mildly; I know we have a big country, but the figure exceeded my admittedly limited knowledge.
But to get to back to the “good news” aspect, I was in for an even greater surprise when I sat there at one of the week’s sessions and listened to the various toshaos introducing themselves to the gathering and saying a few words about their plans and concerns. Given the number of persons involved in this exercise, I would have expected, as in most such occasions, that the introductions would vary in quality, ranging from good to mediocre. What struck me very quickly, however, was the uniformly high standard of the various Amerindian brethren in their short deliveries to the audience. Each of them was impressive, both in their grasp of language and in the well-structured thinking behind the various points they were making. In the language of today, they blew me away.
I must have heard over two dozen of these leaders do their introductions, and I could not make a single criticism of any subject they raised and, particularly, of how they said it. I recall a time in Guyana when there were negative aspersions about the Amerindian people, but that is clearly past tense. The overall message I came away with this week is that the persons involved in governing and managing our various hinterland administrations are a formidable group. Understand that I am simply reporting the condition – I don’t know enough about this subject to be able to explain the progression – but perhaps a journalist, familiar with the matter, will subsequently enlighten us…..