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The Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai is coming under heavy criticism for her decision to remove Marbel Thomas, the Toshao of Campbelltown from Office.
Thomas was removed from Office on Wednesday over allegations that the Campbelltown Village Council, located in Region Eight, breached the Amerindian Act by failing to consult villagers on key matters. In condemning the move on Thursday, the Guyana Action Party said the decision is vindictive.
General Secretary of Guyana Action Party, Kevon Lorrimer said the Amerindian Affairs Minister has not hid from the public her biases against Toshao Thomas.
“In a lengthy post on the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs Facebook page dated 20th October 2020 the Minister gave credence to slanderous allegations against the Toshao and even went to the ridiculous extreme to assert that the Council was illegitimately installed,” Lorrimer said.
He added: “The Toshao and Council refuted every single allegation in the petition during the so-called investigation led by PPP Member of Parliament Yvonne Pearson and good friend of the Minister but the Minister obviously had her mind made up on removing Toshao Thomas.”
He pointed out that the Campbelltown Village Council was only given a copy of the petition just before the investigation commenced, despite the Council had repeatedly requested it weeks prior.
“The Minister of Amerindian Affairs and the PPP Government have left no doubt in the minds of all right thinking Guyanese by this egregious assault on a young vibrant female Indigenous leader and the Council which she leads that the Minister and her government have no respect and regard for elected Indigenous leaders and peoples who exercise their right to self-determination to govern their Villages and administer their Village affairs free of undue political and other interference,” Lorrimer said
He said the party stands firmly and solidly in support of Toshao Thomas and the Village Council of Campbelltown against, what he describes as the “arbitrary and grossly unjust” decision by the Minister of Amerindian Affairs, and the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government.
Toshao Thomas, on Wednesday, told Village Voice News that the report of the investigating committee is false, noting that the Council has constantly engaged its people and the evidence in the form of minutes is there to see.
She explained that her leadership came under attack after a resident miner discovered gold in a section of the Village resulting in a “gold rush.” It was explained that once the discovery was made, residents from Mahdia, Linden, Georgetown and other parts of the country started flooding the Village, and that she said, was a cause for concern. Realizing what was happening, Toshao Thomas said the Village Council sought to put systems in place to effectively manage and monitor the area, where mining was taking place but the Council’s actions were seen as a threat.
Like the Guyana Action Party, the Toshao believes that the decision of the Amerindian Affairs Minister is self-serving and politically motivated.