The meeting was to discuss how the LOC will work with the venues team during the hosting of the World Cup.CEO of the PNGSF, Peter Tsiamalili said there are only six months before the tournament and the constant dialogue with the LOC will ensure that his team brings the venues up to FIFA standard requirements.“This is a partnership and we need to work together to deliver the tournament, so it’s really a collective effort,” said Tsiamalili.CEO of the LOC, Seamus Marten said this is going to be the biggest sporting event that will ever be broadcasted from PNG.“There’ll be over 124 million television viewers from 100 countries watching the tournament from Papua New Guinea and this is our opportunity to showcase PNG.“There are people who doubt we can deliver the tournament but I can tell you that if there’s anywhere that can deliver a tournament at such limited time, it’s PNG,” said Marten.The World Cup will be played at four different venues. Sixteen training sites have been identified and are being prepared for the 16 participating nations who will be competing.It is estimated that 560 players and officials will be in the country for the event.Five hotels in the city will be accommodating the players, including technical officials, during the tournament.Meanwhile, the LOC will be using the Oceania Football Confederation Nations Cup in June in Port Moresby as a test event in preparation for the World Cup.The FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup will be held from November 13 to December 3.
Dear Editor,On Saturday March 23rd, an article was carried in the Guyana Times under the headline: ’Toshaos Council accuses Govt of elections meddling”. It raised a number of issues of concern to the National Toshaos Council (NTC).Firstly, they claim there are communities whose council members are summoned to meetings without the toshaos’ knowledge, and this undermines the legitimacy and credibility of the toshaos and village councils.Secondly, they claim the Government is seeking to politicize the office of the toshaos, and that this is a threat to the Indigenous people.Thirdly, they claim the Government is showing disregard for the budgetary needs of the NTC by allocating only $16 million to the council for the year. It is claimed that the $16 million sum will be spent on the four quarterly meetings of Council Executives, and, as such, nothing will be left for outreaches to promote good governance and to educate the Indigenous people.They claimed that they represent the interest of 83,000 Amerindians and received only $16 million, while two small communities comprising 200 and 3000 residents received $20 million and $30 million respectively.Fourthly, they claimed that there is no movement to have a revision of the Amerindian Act.Fifthly, they complained about the Government not sticking to the 2013 agreement with the UNDP: to use US$10.7million from Norway to issue titles to 16 communities and commit to not grant new leases in those areas that were proposed to be titled or extended.The NTC noted that if the above stated issues are not addressed, then they will forever be begging for their rights to be respected. If the Government cannot commit to implementing change, they will be asking all the Indigenous people to gather in Georgetown for a mass protest.With regard to the first issue, it demonstrates disunity in the council when a councillor runs off to visit the Government officials without him or her informing the toshao or the entire council. The Government officials are therefore not the main culprits in this issue, but the councillors themselves in the first instance, and then toshaos who are displaying poor management skills.When such a situation should have risen, if that matter is brought to the rest of the community, the credibility of the toshaos and council cannot be diminished, unless they are acting contrary to the wishes of the community and would therefore be happy to have someone take up their cause with the Government officials.On the second issue of politicising the office of the toshaos, it appears that the persons in the NTC do not know their history. The position of the toshaos has always been politicised. The Dutch kept the tribal leader close to them to facilitate trade with the rest of the tribes. The English gave gifts of food and implements to the tribal leaders and members of the tribes in an effort to keep them close to the missions, for easy mobilization in case the British needed their assistance in controlling the African slaves. The PNC Government politicised the village captains to gain dominance in the Amerindian communities during their quest to make the party paramount. The PPP/C continued the same policy of control and dominance by, among other things, instituting the annual Presidential Grant. The current Government will be doing the same. How the NTC handles it will determine if they intend to make a break with the past.On the third issue of budgetary allocation for the NTC, what comes to mind is: why is this group of community leaders — who do not want Government meddling in their affairs; who do not want the office of the toshao to be politicised — so dependent on an annual Government subvention? If they had asked Martin Carter, our national poet, he surely would have referred them to these lines from his poem: “a mouth is always muzzled by the food it eats to live”. Unless they raise their own income from the grass root communities, they will always be dependent on the Government. Furthermore, what tangible benefits are derived in the communities from the spending of $16million on four quarterly meetings of the executive committee? My guess is that the Hotel and restaurant owners would have been the greater beneficiaries.On the fourth issue of the revision of the Amerindian Act, have they discussed with the communities the sections that need to be revised? Or are they hoping that the Government will initiate a revision in isolation? They need to start a national debate among Amerindians and possible concerned non-Amerindians about the proposed changes needed. Then lobby for the change.The fifth issue is somewhat more complex. It concerns land titling. Ever since Independence in 1966, the issue of land titling in Amerindian communities has been ongoing. After 52 years, the titling of land to 83,000 Amerindians is still incomplete. Based on the NTC statement, 67 communities are waiting for this exercise to be completed. I believe that this whole land titling has now become counterproductive to the development of the Amerindian people of this country. What happens when the Amerindian population increases? Would they just keep asking for extensions or new titles? Such an exercise could lead to racial conflicts, given the population size/acreage ratio.Secondly, how beneficial has been the titled lands to the Amerindians who live there? Can they take that title to the bank and acquire a loan to build homes or to start business ventures? I honestly do not believe that this is happening or could happen. So the Amerindians on those titled lands are still outside of the mainstream of the Guyanese economy.Some advocates of land titling would claim those lands are ancestral lands and there are spiritual and religious attachments. However, they are forgetting that, at the time of arrival of the Europeans, the tribes in Guyana were migratory; slowly moving from south-west to north-east; and, to date, there is no Amerindian religion in Guyana other that what the Europeans handed down.It is time that the NTC encourage Amerindians to buy property, like other Guyanese citizens, and stop being huddled on reservations to perpetuate a lifestyle of hunting and fishing, and to go dancing in tibisiri skirts for Government officials and other dignitaries. The time for that is over. Every other race in Guyana and other nations have passed through that phase of human development. How many of them still dance with lap cloth? NTC wake up!!Respectfully,Victro Kersting Sr