The Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GL&SC) on Tuesday presented a lease to the National Toshaos Council (NTC) for a plot of land in Sophia, Greater Georgetown.The land will house the secretariat of the Toshaos Council. The Indigenous leaders, during the 2016 NTC Conference, had requested a plot of land from the Government to construct its long-awaited secretariat.During a briefing handing over ceremony on Tuesday afternoon, Commissioner and GL&SC Chief Executive, Trevor Benn, reminded that the GLSC had expedited the request of the NTC to have the land available.“There has been a lease available since February for the National Toshaos Council,” he said, while addressing the Toshaos and Minister within the IndigenousNational Toshaos Council Chairman Nicholas Fredericks receives the lease from Commissioner Trevor Benn on TuesdayPeople’s Affairs Ministry, Valerie Garrido-Lowe at the simple ceremony.Benn also called for greater dialogue between the GLSC and the NTC, noting that that is the only way a number of land-related issues affecting the Indigenous communities could be addressed.“We at the GLSC have an open door policy and we are prepared to work with you to have your issues addressed, we may not be able to do so individually but as a body, I can assure you that we are going to look closely at the land related issues affecting your various communities,” he assured. To this end, Benn also pledged the support of the legal section of the GLSC to assist the NTC on land related matters they may encounter.The Indigenous People’s Affairs Ministry, the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission and the National Toshaos Council will be working together to identify a larger plot of land for the establishment of a complex that would include dormitories to accommodate Toshaos, conference rooms and other facilities as promised by President David Granger earlier this year.Minister within the Indigenous People’s Affairs Ministry, Valarie Garrido-Lowe praised the GL&SC for expediting the process on behalf of the NTC and also called for a better working relationship between the GLSC and the NTC, stating “That is the only way the matters we hear about daily about your lands are going to be addressed, you cannot have two and three persons sharing different views on aMembers of the National Toshaos Council with Minister within the Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Ministry, Valerie Garrido-Lowe and Commissioner of the Guyana Land and Surveys Commission, Trevor Bennmatter and expect that it will be addressed”.She further stated, “Meet with your people, sit as a Council, and then raise concrete issues with the Lands Commission so that those matters could be addressed and be addressed speedily,” the Minister advised.Meanwhile, Chairman of the National Toshaos Council Nicholas Fredericks, expressed his willingness to work hand in hand with the GL&SC to advance the relationship between the two bodies.Fredericks pointed out that in most indigenous communities the burning issue is about land and therefore, he said, the GLSC is a crucial partner in advancing the development of the Indigenous communities. “If we look at most of the Indigenous communities today, one of the most consistent issues is that of land, most persons have issues with their lands and because of this, development is slow in some of those communities because there are not so much you can do on disputed lands,” he reasoned.“So my fellow colleagues we see the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission as a very important partner that will aid in our development and we must be prepared to work with them to have those issues affecting us addressed,” he added.Fredericks also thanked the GLSC for fast-tracking the NTC’s lease, pointing out that it signals the beginning of great things to come for the Indigenous peoples. “So much we can do with our own secretariat, our own land and this is just the beginning of great things to come,” he posited. Toshaos from the various Indigenous communities, raised a number of land related issues with the GL&SC, and the Commission through Benn, promised that those issues will be looked at and addressed once if falls within the ambit of the GL&SC.
Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo on Tuesday announced that former Minister of State, Joseph Harmon has been appointed Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency.Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph HarmonThe announcement was made during the Prime Minister’s address at the National Communications Network (NCN) Linden Complex at the Government outreach to the mining town.Minister Harmon, a dual citizen, resigned as a minister and Member of Parliament (MP) effective April 25. He was replaced as an MP by Mervyn Williams. Vice President and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge; former Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin and former Minister of Public Service, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine also resigned as a result of being deemed dual citizens by Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George in a court ruling.Gaskin and Dr Roopnaraine were replaced by Haimraj Rajkumar and Tabitha Saraboo-Halley respectively.Prime Minister Nagamootoo was delivering the feature address at the hand-over ceremony of the NCN Linden assets to the Linden Broadcasting Network (LBN).Director General Harmon attended the Cabinet meeting earlier in the day at the invitation of President David Granger where his new portfolio was formally announced to Cabinet.