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Shadow Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Mr. Ganesh Mahipaul is calling on senior Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Mr. Nigel Dharamlall to pay the 2022 stipend increase to the toshaos, deputy toshaos, senior councillors of Indigenous communities and regional councillors.
In conversation with Village Voice, Mahipaul said the 2022 Budget approved GUY$290 million for salary for regional chairpersons and vice- chairpersons, and stipends for mayors, deputy mayors, toshaos, deputy toshaos, senior councillors of Indigenous communities and regional councillors. This is an increase from GUY$213 million in the previous budget, he said, and the year is almost over yet these workers have not been paid.
As per the new pay rate, toshaos will move from $30,000 to $45,000 monthly; deputy toshaos, from $20,000 to $30,000; senior councillors of Indigenous communities from $ 15,000 to 25,000; and regional councillors from $10,000 to $30,000. Mahipaul is calling for the increase to be paid “NOW!”
Making a plea for the payment, he pointed out that “our hardworking servants of the people in the Indigenous Village Councils and Local Government System have waited long enough. They too have mouths to feed in this high cost of living period.” September is Heritage Month and the government has been using activities in honour of Indeginous Peoples to boast how much the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) cares about the group.
The shadow minister told Village Voice there is no excuse for the non-payment other than bureaucratic incompetence of the two subject ministers who are not focusing on implementing their programmes, including monitoring and providing guidelines. Laying the blame for the non-payment at Dharamlall’s feet, Mahipaul said he should stop gallivanting across the country for photo opportunities and spend more time doing his work as minister and ensuring his programmes are instituted.