Karasabai to invest in youth to turnaround village 

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Toshao Marlon Edwards (second left) and other village officials during a recent mapping exercise with officials of the Sustainable Wildlife Management project.

…new toshao on mission to rekindle spirit of unity  

By Alva Solomon  

Newly elected toshao of the village of Karasabai in the Pakaraima district believes that youth empowerment is the most viable solution for the development of the community.

Toshao Marlon Edwards

At the same time, the 26-year-old leader, the youngest to be elected to the post at the village, is aiming to lobby the government and other stakeholders to push the main economic activities of Karasabai including a thriving agriculture sector. Edwards was elected Toshao when the village council hosted elections on April 30 last. He said he was inspired to run for the post with several factors in mind. These include reigniting the spirit of unity among the people of the village and “to bring an end to political segregation.”


He said there has been too much division within the village in recent years and according to him, this would have stymied development. “So my goal is to try to bring that to an end so that we can try to work to continue to build our community and move it forward.”

Edwards, who attained his secondary education at the St Ignatius Secondary School, told the Village Voice that within the village of Karasabai, there are many young persons who are unemployed. “So my objective is to lobby the government, to lobby other organisations to see how best we can create jobs for these young people in the village.”

Edwards said that persons within the village, including the youths would cross over the neighbouring Brazil in search of jobs. He said there is a neighbouring town, called Normandia, across the border and many residents of the village would cross over to trade and barter goods including their cassava products. He said they would shop for basic goods for their families and return with whatever cash remains to take care of the welfare of their families.

Beside unemployment, the young leader noted that when compared to other villages in the area, Karasabai is way behind in terms of development. He said that the time is opportune for that to be changed. He said only unity can lead to development of the village.

The young village leader noted that Karasabai is blessed with many scenic views which he believes must be developed in order for the area to become a tourist destination. He said that one of his objectives is to work hard on promoting tourism so that when the pandemic ceases, tourists can venture into the village. This he said will have several economic spin-offs in the area. “We can have employment opportunities created for our local people,” he said.

He said that while he may be the youngest toshao to be elected to led the village, he is happy to have paved the way for other young people to take-up leadership roles at Karasabai. Edwards, who studied and completed management programmes at the Business School in Georgetown, posited that agriculture is an economic activity which can be boosted at the village. At the moment persons plant and sell cash crops as well as fruits on a small scale. But he is advocating strongly “for the agriculture sector to be developed or boosted at Karasabai.” He plans to lobby the Ministry of Agriculture to assist in the advancement of this sector.

Residents and a buyer arrange for the sale of a sheep at Karasabai. Sheep rearing is one of the main economic activities at the North Pakaraima village.

Demarcation of lands  

The village leader said the issue of land demarcation has been in existence even before he was born. He said the boundaries of the village were never demarcated by the government of the day although the village has its land title. He said that he plans to push and invite the authorities to intervene and resolve the matter. He cautioned however, that it will not be solved overnight since the issue requires “a lot of collaboration” among the government, the village council and other stakeholders.

Edwards said that the council is ready to get onboard and find a solution to the issue. “We see our land as being part of us, it is part of our life and we are serious about our land.” The newly elected village council is committed to work with any organisation, the government and other stakeholders to bring about development of the village and Edwards said the new body is open to suggestions or recommendations aimed at advancing this cause. Days after it was elected, the new village council formed a community policing group and Edwards noted that several youths were elected to be a part of the group. He said a village mapping exercise was also undertaken by the council and it received support from the Sustainable Wildlife Management Programme for the activity.

Communication deficit  

Edwards noted too that there is no means of reliable communication at Karasabai although there are two government WIFI systems at the village. He said the batteries for the systems are inoperable and at nights there is no internet connectivity from the system; during the day the system slows down.

He noted that the new village council is working on a plan to soon install a transmission system which will see two towers being erected to connect the village to the outside world. ” It will be very helpful to the village, it will also help our students with research and online studies and courses,” he said of the new system.

Many indigenous villages across the country experience a high incidence of teenage pregnancies as well as substance abuse among other social ills. But Edwards noted that Karasabai is blessed to have these at a very minimum. “We do monitor our young people very carefully, we guide them, try to mentor them and show them the right way. We would have a few problems from time to time but they are not prevalent,” he explained. Within the past few weeks, a number of young village leaders were elected to leadership positions on village councils across the country. At such villages, the residents noted on social media that the time has come for the youths to lead while taking advice from their seniors.

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