The money from Norway earmarked for land demarcation of Amerindian lands will not be heading directly to the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs but will be lodged with the Ministry of Finance and be released in tranches.
This is according to a senior source within that Ministry who added that the actual demarcation will not be done by the Lands and Survey’s department.
This task is said to be tedious given the terrain involved and will overwhelm the Lands and Surveys Department, according to the official. Communities have been prioritized and as soon as the money is released, work will commence.
It was pointed out that the Amerindian Affairs Ministry will merely be supervising the demarcations exercise.
President Bharrat Jagdeo had announced that the first tranche of the money that Guyana will be receiving under the Memorandum of Understanding signed with the Kingdom of Norway will in part be used for the demarcation exercise as well as to provide solar powered systems for some Amerindian communities.
This newspaper understands that the demarcation will commence with titled lands and will progress under the four year program that Ministry had prepared.
Some of the initial communities to be demarcated will include Riverview, eclipse falls and kwaimwatta among others. Communities have to apply to be a part of the demarcation process but the benefits will be tremendous given the fact that communities will know their exact boundaries.
As it relates to some of the communities that are slated for the provision of solar panels they include Arukamai, Bunberry Hill, Chinese Landing, White Water, Kabakaburi, Karrau, Aishalton, Annai, St Ignatius and Great Falls among several others.
Chairperson of the National Toshaos Council (NTIC), Yvonne Pearson, is on record as saying that demarcation is a key issue to be addressed.
“Once lands are demarcated, Amerindian communities would be in a better position to manage their resources.”
She said that a number of villages have already been demarcated and several others are listed for demarcation, hopefully this year.
“We are not sure how many more will be demarcated in 2010 because of the high cost involved with the process…there are others targeted for next year,” Pearson stated.
She added that there are also a few villages, which have not accepted demarcation, a voluntary process.
Pearson maintained that, despite the challenge of finance, there are many benefits from demarcation.
According to her, planning for use of the land and resources is the primary positive in the procedure.
“Farming, sustainable logging and even tourism can be some of the planned uses,” she offered. Pearson said she, in her capacity as NTC Chair, is supportive of demarcation and there is strong policy support for the Amerindian people.
She remarked that the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) and the Amerindian Act are not perfect but they give Amerindians a chance to determine their future.
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