Ministry of Natural Resources strengthens relationship with National Toshaos Council
The Minister of Natural Resources Hon. Raphael Trotman on Wednesday held a meeting with councilors of the National Toshaos Council (NTC) at Herdmanston Lodge, Georgetown. The meeting was held as part of a series of ongoing engagements between the Ministry and the NTC, which are meant to deepen the understanding between the two entities and to facilitate better collaboration in the execution of various efforts and initiatives that are meant to benefit the indigenous peoples.
On the agenda for discussion were the signing of the approved Memorandum of Understanding and several other issues raised by Chairman of the NTC Mr. Nicholas Fredericks. One of priority included assurance of the Ministry’s support towards the council post-2019. This request comes as the Ministry’s agency, which provides support to the council – the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) Project, is set to end in 2019.
In response Minister Trotman gave the commitment of the Ministry, and by extension, the Government of Guyana’s that the support to the indigenous peoples in general, and the NTC in particular, was an everlasting one. Minister Trotman went on to express the view that it is the Government’s moral and constitutional responsibility to assist the indigenous peoples of Guyana in whatever way it can.
Another matter raised by the Chairman was that of training members of the council and the availability of scholarships for young minds in the various hinterland communities. From this the Minister reminded of the Hinterland Scholarship Programme that is ongoing and gave his Ministry’s commitment to having discussions with the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples Affairs to see how best his Ministry can assist in giving more hinterland youth access to these educational opportunities.
Along with the aforementioned, Mr. Fredericks then posited the NTC’s vision of having the NTC Secretariat being established. It should be known that H.E President David Granger had made available land for the NTC to have the secretariat built.
Minister Trotman while supporting the vision of the NTC assured the councilors that as the Minister he commits to do all in his power to ensure the NTC has a secretariat building by 2020.
The Minister greatly values the relationship between his Ministry and the NTC. He is also appreciative of the significant role that indigenous peoples play in their communities along with the role they play when it comes to the sustainable management of Guyana’s natural patrimony.
To further demonstrate the Ministry and Government’s value of Indigenous Peoples, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the Ministry and the NTC just after the meeting. The MOU now allows the Ministry to formally collaborate with the NTC to assist the organization in fulfilling its mandate in the areas of good governance and the preparing of strategies and plans for the protection, conservation and sustainable management of Indigenous community lands and natural resources, whilst the NTC will now enable the MNR to achieve success in its programmes.