$630M for Amerindian land titling

The President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali-led administration has made good on its promise to resuscitate the Amerindian Land Titling Project (ALT) with a proposed 2021 budgetary allocation of $630 million.

During the budget presentation on Friday, Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility Finance, Hon. Dr. Ashni Singh said the investment follows much preparatory work that was done in recent months.

A vaquero in Kato Village, Potaro-Siparuni (Region Eight)

“Since our Government resumed office, we spent the last few months of 2020 preparing the groundwork for re-energising the Amerindian Land Titling programme to achieve its original target to title 68 villages,” he said.

This sum is set to once again put the project on the front burner after the APNU+AFC failed to adequately address the matter during its tenure, although the groundwork had already been done.

“Twelve certificates of titles had already been issued by us between 2014 and the time we left office.  This is in stark comparison to the dismal performance of the previous administration who, from 2016 to the time they lost office, reluctantly issued only two certificates of title to our Amerindian brothers and sisters.”

Upon taking office in August 2020, Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Hon. Pauline Sukhai said the functioning unit of the project that began in 2013 was disbanded by her predecessor, leading to the re-establishment of a new unit over a 16-month period.

Further, Minister Sukhai said the project was extended three times to cover operational costs instead of targeted outcomes.

Two other issues that plagued the Project under the former Administration were the increase of the demarcation estimates for the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission from 10 per cent to 25 per cent, and a failure of the Project to hold meetings for one year.

The United Nations Development Programme is the implementing agency for the project, which started through a $2.2 billion (US$11 million) grant under the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund.