Campbelltown-Princeville residents petition for removal of Village Council

…claim livelihoods being threatened

Amerindian Affairs Minister Pauline Sukhai receives the petition from Earl Gildharie

Residents of Campbelltown-Princeville, an Amerindian village located in Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) are calling for the removal of Toshao Marbel Thomas, Deputy Toshao Samantha John, and other Councillors of the village’s council.
On Tuesday, a petition signed by more than 130 residents was handed over to Amerindian Affairs Minister Pauline Sukhai by Earl Gildharie, who led a delegation to a meeting at the Minister’s Quamina and Thomas Streets, Georgetown office.
Campbelltown is the closest Amerindian village to Mahdia. Its main economic activities are mining and subsistence farming.
The residents have alleged that the Toshao is refusing to let them conduct mining activities within the village, and has allegedly allowed her friends and family and foreign nationals to operate without consulting them.
They requested the Government’s intervention since their livelihoods were being threatened. Those signing the petition further alleged that the Toshao verbally abused residents who challenge her decisions. They have also cited her for lack of proper management and accountability of the Council.
The issues date back to April 2018 when the village held its Toshao and Councillors election which was marred by several irregularities. The villagers proceeded to seek the intervention of the former Minister who failed to address the issues at that time.
The issues have since escalated as a result of the recent gold rush in the village. Residents have been instructed by the Toshao that they could only work one day per week in the mines.

The delegation during Tuesday’s meeting with Minister Sukhai

Examining petition
During the meeting, Minister Sukhai explained that based on correspondence in the Ministry’s possession, it was established that the Village Council was illegitimately installed.
She added that the petition to remove the Toshao and Council would be reviewed and action would be taken in keeping with the Amerindian Act of 2006. She noted that the Village Council would also be given a chance to respond to the allegations.
“The Ministry will examine the petition in detail and seek to address it in a manner that provides for natural justice and that is, to ensure that the Toshao is notified about the petition and the matters of the petition, including the allegation of the Council being improperly installed and we will take it from there,” Minister Sukhai assured.
The Minister anticipates that the matter would be resolved by early November.
Meanwhile, Gildharie explained that the matter has affected over 900 persons. He said that the gold finds could be a major boost to the village economy, once residents were allowed to operate.
He is optimistic that the matter will be resolved promptly so that the people can get back to their normal lives.
On October 12, 2020, Minister Sukhai met with some 200 residents of Campbelltown who requested an audience with her to raise issues regarding mining in the village.