Gov’t has transparency questions over Toshaos conference

Stabroek News
June 12, 2003

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The PPP/C government is concerned with what it termed the “patent non-transparent” mechanisms used to convene the recently held National Toshaos Conference.

The conference was held on May 31 at the Lake Mainstay Resort. Cabinet Secretary, Dr Roger Luncheon said last week that “Cabinet noted the highly selective nature of the invitation that excluded the Regional Chairmen of Region One and Region Two as well as the geographic members of parliament from the governing People’s Progressive Party/Civic.”

He said that these concerns were made in the context of the presence of other regional chairpersons and geographic members of parliaments from other regions. The conference, which lasted for three days, discussed the establishment of the National Toshaos Council (NTC), which will either be considered a statutory body, or a non-governmental organisation, among other issues.

The conference was organised by non-governmental organisations in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).Dr Luncheon pointed out that the body would be tasked with the responsibility of “representing the interests of and promoting the interest of indigenous peoples”.

He said Cabinet had undertaken to have its concerns addressed in discussion with the body.

According to Dr Luncheon, Cabinet is trying to “put together the most accurate information about the nature of the sponsorship and the bodies involved. My belief is that our concerns are generic ones addressing the issue of accountability and transparency.”

The conference was attended by Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Carolyn Rodrigues and it was facilitated by a special committee representing the Amerindian People’s Association, the Guyana Organisation of Indigenous Peoples, The Minister of Amerindian Affairs and the Carter Center which along with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) provided funding.

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