Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai, appeared to have mobilised two different groups of Amerindians against each other yesterday in efforts to silence the Amerindian People’s Association (APA), which has been voicing its concern about the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS).
The Minister refused to talk with Kaieteur News about the reason for her protest. Norman Whittaker, a senior functionary within the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs, said that he was not authorised to speak to this newspaper.
Whittaker said that he was organising transportation for the Amerindians who were pulled together to be part of the protest.
Sukhai told nightly newscast, Capitol News, that she was at the protest in her capacity as an Amerindian leader and as an ex-officio member of the National Toshaos Council.
However, a group of Amerindians boarded a bus operated by the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs at the end of the mid-morning protest while some others joined a taxi.
The protest was held outside the Regency Suites Hotel, Hadfield Street, Georgetown where the APA is holding a five-day workshop to educate Amerindian leaders and members of its executive on the basics of climate change.
Jean La Rose, Programme Administrator of the APA, said that some Amerindians have claimed they don’t understand the whole discussion on the Low Carbon Development Strategy or REDD (the United Nations scheme under which rich countries propose to pay poor countries to avoid forest destruction).
She said that such basic words as carbon and greenhouse gases are not understood by some, prompting the APA to hold the workshop. She said that she was surprised that the government that preaches democracy would criticise and condemn “people who sit and exercise their right to information.”
Those attending the APA workshop include elected Amerindian leaders, Councilors, community leaders and executives of the APA.
Minister Sukhai seemed not too interested in the reason the APA was holding its workshop. When a member of the APA came out to show her documents pertaining to the discussion, she refused to accept it and told the executive to take the document to her office.
“We are trying to educate our people so they can make informed decisions and choices. The government should have been doing that first instead of going on a promotional tour and dangling the carrot in-front of them and how much money we will get out of the LCDS,” La Rose declared.
Sukhai, in an interview with the state-owned NCN, which was shared with Kaieteur News, lambasted the APA for writing to the aid agency in Norway regarding its concerns about the LCDS.
The LCDS forms the basis under which the Norwegian Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding to give Guyana US$250 million in five years if it were to protect the rainforest.
Sukhai also expressed displeasure that the APA has also cited concerns over Amerindian land issues. She said that within the past 10 years, the government demarcated 70 of 97 titled Amerindian villages.
La Rose countered that Amerindian land issues have been ongoing over decades. She said that the suggestion by the government that there are no land rights issues at this time is not true.
“Minister needs to go back into her office and look at these documents and really plan a strategy of action to deal with this issue rather than go out on the road and picket something (by which) we are seeking to educate our people,” said La Rose.
La Rose said that she was saddened that those who were part of the picketing exercise were picked out of the Amerindian hostel.
The APA has of recent been incurring the wrath of Government after it issued a March 9 statement following a workshop.
In a statement, the Amerindian leaders said that their first and foremost priority is for immediate measures to secure traditional lands and territories.
“We underline that fair and transparent policies and actions to resolve our outstanding land claims must be put in place as a priority before the implementation of extractive industry projects, LCDS/REDD+ or any other project that may have direct or indirect impacts on our traditional lands, territories and resources.”
Sep 15, 2019Briton John stormed to victory in the feature 35-lap race of the Triskits Biscuit, Midwest tea biscuit cycle event which was contested yesterday at inner circuit of the National Park. John took an...
Editor’s Note, If your sent letter was not published and you felt its contents were valid and devoid of libel or personal attacks, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]