…groups push forward with revision of Amerindian Act
Indigenous leaders are frustrated over the lack of a formal process and the absence of funds in the 2018 Budget to support the revision of Amerindian Act of 2006.
Several indigenous groups met on Thursday in Georgetown and reaffirmed their commitment to resume a serious lobbying effort to ensure the revision of the Act. According to joint statement from the group, the meeting was organised in response to frustration over the lack of a formal revision process for the Amerindian Act.
“The revision of the Act has been on the indigenous community agenda for a number of years since the Act was last revised, and this Administration on many occasions has promised to ensure that this happens. With this is mind, the group expresses its concern that the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples Affairs did not send a representative to the meeting,” the group stated.
The leaders who met for the one day included the Executive Committee of the National Toshaos Council (NTC), representatives of the South Rupununi District Council (SRDC, Region 9), the Upper Mazaruni District Council (UMDC, Region 7) and the North Pakaraimas District Council (NPDC, Region 8), the Amerindian Peoples Association (APA), The Amerindian Action Movement of Guyana (TAAMOG), the National Amerindian Development Foundation (NADF) and the Guyanese Organisation of Indigenous Peoples (GOIP).
Leaders expressed the view that there should be such a process for transparency and inclusivity and that the work should begin as soon as possible.
As a result, the groups endorsed a March 2017 meeting decision for the establishment of a steering committee to guide the revision of the Act. The participants of the meeting agreed on the composition of the steering committee, the terms of reference for the steering committee and the criteria for persons to be selected to the steering committee.
Additionally, they have agreed to trainings by facilitators to provide guidance on the process and content for the revision of the Act and for consultation purposes, villages will be clustered by regions and sub-regions and even smaller groupings, taking into consideration geographical location, among other things.
To achieve their plans, the indigenous leaders agreed to establish a secretariat to coordinate the committee’s work, but funding will be necessary.
According to leaders, the government had budgeted $10 million for the revision of the Act in 2017 and this was stated by Minister for Amerindian Affairs, Allicock in the March 2017 Workshop.
The group expressed the hope that part of the 2017 funding can be allocated towards the initial stages of the process, especially the holding of the first steering committee meeting.
“We have since learned that there is no budgetary allocation in the 2018 budget presented to Parliament to support the revision process.This is of deep concern to the Indigenous Peoples and it is our hope that this oversight will be corrected before the passage of the 2018 budget,” the group stated.
The NTC, district councils, and organisations have up to December 15, 2017 to submit the names of their representatives to an Interim Coordinating Committee that was named and tasked with ensuring that a first steering committee meeting is held no later than the end of January 2018.
The NTC office at 239 Quamina Street will initially be the focal point for coordination.
In addition, the meeting held discussions on and committed to addressing issues related to the Commission of Inquiry on Lands and mining activities affecting indigenous lands.
The NTC and the APA also signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding, agreeing to collaborate on activities to advance the rights and interests of Indigenous Peoples.
Sep 22, 2018The 2018 Indigenous Heritage Games (IHG) was officially kicked off by Minister of Indigenous Peoples Affairs, Sydney Allicock yesterday morning at the at the Everest Cricket Club (ECC) Ground,...
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