Journey to re-election: Toshao discusses journey to become a leader

Timothy Andrews

By Misheal Henry

With the highly anticipated election for village Toshao set for June 14 in Pakuri Village (St Cuthbert’s Mission), the current Toshao, 36-year-old Timothy Andrews, has shared his journey to becoming a respected leader.

He also unveiled his exciting plans for the hopeful upcoming tenure, promising continued progress and innovation for the community in hopes of being re-elected as village Toshao.

Peeling back the pages of this young leader’s journey, Inews caught up with Andrews, who recounted that his path began in 2015 when the former Toshao at that time, Lennox Schuman, and now former deputy speaker, invited him to serve as a counselor.

Initially hesitant, Andrews declined, wishing to avoid involvement in village politics, which seemed potentially contentious. However, on Nomination Day, Andrews was nominated for the counselor position and ultimately accepted the role.

During the early period of holding the position of counselor, Andrews remained ambivalent about the responsibilities. Over time, however, a burning furnace of purpose began to grow within the young leader.

Andrews realised the significant impact that could be made through dedicated representation, not only for the indigenous persons within his village but also for people across the country.

The community ground

According to Andrews this newfound motivation ignited a passion for broader advocacy and community improvement within him.

“But then after some time when I was elected, there was something that started to spark in me in terms of, you know what, I think I can do this. I can, you know, take up the mantra and, you know, make the necessary representation for my people, for my village,” he confidently revealed.

As counselor, Andrews’ commitment further extended beyond local issues, focusing on representing and addressing the needs of communities nationwide. This journey of leadership was not entirely unexpected; from a young age, peers and mentors recognised Timothy’s leadership potential, as he was often chosen to captain various sports teams. “I had a lot of persons who would have, you know, seen me as a leader, like put me to captain teams, cricket team, football team, volleyball team, you know, so I think from ever since, persons would have seen that probably I had the capability or the potential from since then,” he revealed.

This early recognition of leadership capabilities laid the foundation for Andrews’ current role of Toshao which fell upon him mere years later after residents saw the spark of greatness within the young leader, driving a commitment to serve and represent the broader community effectively.

Though Andrews is relatively young, many would be shocked by the hurdles and accomplishments he has undertaken during his tenure. Under his leadership, he has made significant progress in the past three years in terms of Guyana’s culture and tourism, which he is very proud to mention.

“One of the other areas that we really invest a lot of our time and funds in as well is sports. For the past three years, we have been able to produce a large number of football teams. The female football team and both of our male football teams have been a part of the ranking in terms of ranking in the country as well,” he gladly stated, adding that there are a lot of activities that the Toshao council has created for young people, which is just evident of what is next to come for the next years in terms of sports and in terms of these different things.

Amidst his burning desire, the young leader expressed that various challenges he experienced stating that many persons do not realise the difficulties of the role.

“There are a lot of challenges that come with the position of Toshao and one of those challenges, or a few of those challenges, are financial challenges. Especially if you are a family guy like me, it comes with that challenge because Toshaos don’t receive a salary; they basically receive a stipend.”

He also added that another challenge he has faced while being a Toshao is taking care of his mental health, as many persons do not realise the strain of this while leading.

“One of the challenges a lot of people take for granted is mental challenges that these Toshaos or myself would go through at some time, you know, because there are a lot of responsibilities and you are not really trained to be a Toshao. You just develop this passion for your people, you know, to lead them.”

When asked about his future goals that he wishes to implement if he is re-elected as Toshao, Andrews expressed that he plans to continue efforts to enhance the agricultural sector and tourism sector within his community of St. Cuthbert’s Mission/Pakuri Village, and he also plans on engaging the residents more.

Voting for the leadership of Toshao within the St. Cuthbert’s Mission/Pakuri Village will be held on June 14.