$10M earmarked to begin consultation to revise Amerindian Act

The Ministry of Amerindian Affairs has set aside $10 million to commence the consultation process leading up to the revision of the Amerindian Act No. 6 of 2006.

President, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali and a number of participants at the opening of the NTC Conference on Monday.

Minister, Pauline Sukhai, M.P, said the fund will ensure the setting up of a committee, the modalities of the consultation, and the training of the facilitators who will be taking up the ardent task.

The minister was at the time speaking during the opening of the National Toshaos Council (NTC) Conference on Monday, at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC), Liliendaal, Greater Georgetown.

Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai, M.P while speaking at the opening of the NTC Conference at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre on Monday.

The Amerindian Act Act No. 6 of 2006 provides for the recognition and protection of the collective rights of Amerindians, the granting of land, and the promotion of good governance within their villages.

The Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali-led government has made Guyana the front-runner in addressing the development, and unique needs of the indigenous people.

While advocates of Amerindian rights continue to call for a review of the act, Minister Sukhai said they fail to recognise the special regimes of rights which are already enshrined in the legislation.

Despite this, the administration’s position on the act is pellucid. Consultation on the revision of the 2006 legislation will be conducted in every Amerindian community.

“Including with other stakeholders, the revision will take into consideration the increased benefits and secure rights and will not consider the dilution of any such rights and must result in increased benefits and more secure rights for our people,” the minister pointed out.

The NTC, its leaders, along with other stakeholders will have to play an integral role in each phase of the revision process.

A section of the gathering during the opening of the NTC Conference at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre on Monday.

The Amerindian governing body is a reflection of the strong commitment of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government, which readily supported and approved the recommendation for the NTC to be established and legislated.

The theme for this year’s NTC is ‘Good governance and fast-tracking Amerindian Development’, and brings together indigenous leaders from all regions across the country, to consult with government ministers and officials on issues affecting their communities.

The engagement forum was postponed due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic over the past two years.

Minister Sukhai said this year’s conference signals the approach for securing Amerindian development in the nation’s current fast pace of transformation.

To match the growing needs for knowledge and information, government has also re-established the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) project which will see 200 villages and communities having access to the internet by 2023.

A number of leaders have successfully completed their internet facilities to date, while some are awaiting their connection. The minister noted that the huge advancement of connectivity will open doors for opportunities in areas including marketing and education.

Community Service Officers (CSO) dismissed under the previous administration were also rehired and are proudly participating in community development under the guidance of the village councils.  

The NTC Conference will run up to Friday, July 15.