Govt now engaging Indigenous residents on Amerindian Act

first_imgOver four years have passed since the APNU/AFC coalition Government promised the Indigenous community in Guyana that it would relook at sections of the Amerindian Act of 2006, which they were not satisfied with but to date, changes are yet to be made.President David GrangerThis failed commitment by the Government has resulted in severe hardships on the livelihoods of Indigenous folks throughout the country, many of whom have cried out in recent months, about the Administration continuously making decisions that affect them without any consultation.Adviser to the Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Mervyn Williams on Friday told the media that despite the Indigenous peoples’ complaints, the Government has not adjusted the Amerindian Act of 2006 since they are engaging the Indigenous communities about revisions.Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Minister, Sydney Allicock“That process has started, it is a wide and deep consultative process, we have been consulting in several regions of Guyana. We have not touched all of the regions and we are receiving representations and recommendations for, in some cases strengthening, in some cases excising, in some cases including new provisions in the Act. Some people believe that the Act should be repealed in totality while others believe it requires some adjustment,” he told a media conference on Friday. He added that from process information is presently being compiled.Mervyn WilliamsHe further stated that the relevant Government agencies are working on a draft of an amended bill to present to Cabinet for its consideration, which will then be presented to Indigenous stakeholders to allow them the opportunity of perusing it.However, Williams did not provide a date or deadline as to when a draft bill would be completed.Six weeks ago, the latest land tenure report, the third of its kind, issued by the Amerindian Peoples Association (APA) cited the present Administration’s failure to make amendments to laws regarding resource rights for the Indigenous peoples as a major factor for inherently limiting land tenure security across Guyana.“The Act fails to set out clear and fair rules for defining and agreeing on land titles and also lacks clear ways of resolving land disputes. The law gives overly broad discretion to the Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, which has resulted in land titling decisions that infringe upon Indigenous land rights, including titles…and titles that exclude key farming, hunting, fishing, or gathering grounds or important spiritual sites”.According to the document, the APNU/AFC coalition had promised that it would assist Indigenous folks and protect their rights but by failing to revise the Amerindian Act of 2006, it has done more harm than good.“Indigenous land tenure stem from the fundamental problem that the Government does not fully recognise the customary tenure systems of Indigenous peoples and the rights that arise therefrom,” it added.last_img read more