By Fareeza Haniff
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Opposition People’s Progressive Party is denying claims made by the APNU+AFC government that it attempted to sabotage the conference of the National Toshaos Council, which commenced on Monday, August 17.
Late Sunday night, the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples Affairs alleged in a statement that PPP activist from Region Nine, Allister Charlie and others provided transportation for several Toshaos to attend what was reportedly a meeting planned to discuss the National Toshaos’ Council Conference.
“Information received suggests that Toshaos were not told who the conveners of the meeting were. They were not told where they were going for the meeting either. Believing that they were on their way to an official meeting regarding the NTC conference, they went along. However, they were taken to Red House where the Indigenous Leaders were confronted by the PPP cabal lead by Bharrat Jagdeo. They were first told that they would be given cash and return air fare to their homes,” the statement detailed.
The Ministry had alleged that the meeting was called by Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo; however General Secretary of the PPP, Clement Rohee denied that this was the case, explaining that it was former Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai who wanted to have a “conversation” with the Toshaos at Red House.
“I was present at the meeting…it had nothing to do with Jagdeo inviting anybody; that’s a total lie. In fact, Jagdeo and myself were invited by the former Minister of Amerindian Affairs, who has managed to maintain these relationships with the Toshaos to a conversation…on the Toshaos conference.
“The former Minister invited them for a conversation and took the opportunity to invite us to be part of this discussion. It had nothing to do with bribing them to sending them back home; that’s not true,” Rohee clarified.
As a matter of fact, he noted that the PPP encouraged the Toshoas to attend the conference and express their views about the violations that took place prior to the hosting of the conference, such as the late notice the Toshoas received and the lack of consultation on the agenda of the meeting.
Rohee explained that the APNU+AFC has deviated from normal practices as it relates to the hosting of the conference, including the fact that an election was held on the first day by way of ballot.
“First day of the conference there will be an election…an election by ballot, which is completly different from previous Toshaos conferences…the Toshaos found this to be highly unusual and were asking questions… Obviously they [APNU+AFC] are up to some skulduggery,” Rohee said.