Sep 08, 2022 News
…as High Court ruling on land rights case further delayed
Kaieteur News – The Indigenous People of the Upper Mazaruni District Council (UMDC) are currently celebrating Heritage Month with a heavy heart, as a long awaited ruling by the High Court on their land rights, which was set for August 31, last, was not handed down.
Mario Hastings, Toshao of the Upper Mazaruni District CouncilUMDC Toshao, Mario Hastings stated during an interview on Wednesday with this publication that he and his people are growing frustrated over the matter. In fact, he is worried that the matter is turning into a “never-ending” one. The man said that he feels as though the court does not want to give the UMDC its much needed justice. “We have waited so long to get a decision on the case, and we are also aware that the court is supposed to make an announcement for any case within a certain time, and we know that it is overdue,” he stated.
According to Hastings, he is not aware that the High Court even proffered a reason for not adhering to the ruling date. He, however, said, that he and his people are still hopeful that the court would soon rule on the matter – either this month or at least sometime this year.
Hastings said that based on information he has received, the average time period taken for the court to come to a decision is six months. It has been five years already since the UMDC, through its lawyer, submitted their final submission to the court. As such, Hastings expressed disappointment in the court system. He said that the UMDC was not consulted nor given notice that the matter would have been further delayed. “I think the court should have a proper system in place to notify people on court rulings,” he said.
He explained too that due to the distance to get to the city for the ruling of the matter, he had arrived in Georgetown a few days prior, completely unaware that the ruling was not happening yet again.
According to Hastings, if the court continues to push back the ruling and continues to handle the matter in such an uncaring manner, the UMDC will have to protest in some form for its right to justice. “We will all try our best to ensure that we get our justice,” he insisted. For the past 24 years, the UMDC and the residents of Region Seven have been trying to reclaim the rights to their lands that are currently being used without the permission of the council for mining.
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