Santa Rosa residents protest against Toshao

Some of those who protested against Toshao Whanita Phillips

Several residents of Santa Rosa Village, on Friday staged a protest against their Toshao, Whanita Phillips, who they have accused of being unprofessional and biased in her capacity as village leader.

Phillips was one of three women elected to serve as village leaders during last year’s National Toshao Elections, held in the country’s indigenous communities.

 However, nine months into her three-year-term, Phillips, a businesswoman by profession, has seemingly fallen out of favour with residents within her community, as at least a dozen residents staged a protest in front of the village office at Kumaka on Friday.

When contacted, Phillips declined to comment on the protest.

Teekla Peters, a resident of Santa Rosa who spoke to this newspaper, contended that the community is in dire need of a new leader, particularly one who listens to the people.

“She is unprofessional towards the village council and does not listen to the people here; she isn’t transparent and is biased when dealing with conflicts,” Peters said.

 Further, the resident noted that though Phillips has been spoken to on several occasions, her attitude remains the same. As such, residents have reached their limit and are now calling for her removal as Toshao.

 Silvia Henry, one of the protesters who spoke with this newspaper, claims that she has had encounters which have led her to believe that Phillips is biased when dealing with the resolution of conflicts brought to her by residents. “When they campaigning, they say they going to help you this and that, but now they in the office they not helping anybody,” Henry said.

 She also accused the Toshao of driving fear into residents with threats of being locked up by the police.

 This allegation was supported by Esther Francis and Orpha Thomas, the latter of whom accused the Toshao of threatening to have the police incarcerate both herself and her husband when they went to enquire about a land dispute that is currently before the village council.

 “She does not listen to anybody, all she does do is threaten people with police and people going to court for these things,” Francis said.

The woman, who hails from Kamwatta, a satellite village, also accused the Toshao of participating in the victimization of a resident from her village who spoke out against the misuse of funds for the school’s feeding programme.

“We have not seen any progress since she took office and she has been there nine months now. She is unable to give any solutions to our problems. I went to her about a land issue and she started hollering on me, she is just causing more distress for us,” Thomas said of the Toshao.

Photos saved in pictures as ML Mourca Protest, ML Mourca Protest.1 and Mourca Protest.

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