Amerindian land titling project progresses

The Amerindian Land Titling (ALT) project has made significant strides in providing the legal security of Amerindian lands and has been able to achieve 15 absolute grants and 28 demarcations to date.

Project Coordinator Monica Sharma explained that following the project’s extension in 2022, it is now worth some US$13.2 million and has several primary objectives.

Monica Sharma, Coordinator of the ALT Project

“We are very proud of these numbers, as we know that the ALT project has had many issues that have hindered its progress, since 2013. We have regained some of that momentum since 2020, and we feel that we are on a good stride right now,” Sharma told the gathering at the National Toshaos Council (NTC) Conference, at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre on Tuesday. 

The project seeks to enable Amerindians to secure their lands and natural resources against the backdrop of promoting sustainable and socioeconomic development.

Its main objective is to have the demarcation process completed and land titles issued to Amerindian villages that submitted requests.

Sharma recalled that under the previous APNU+AFC Administration, the project targets were reduced.

However, she said when the project was resuscitated in 2020, the original targets were restored. Of the 15 absolute grants, 10 were given to communities, and five for village extensions.

Sharma added that this year, seven investigations have been finalised and cabinet papers have been drafted for review and approval for these communities.

Concerning demarcation, of the 28 that have been completed, 20 have been for communities, and eight were for village extensions.

Recognising that land titling is an extensive and complicated process, Sharma said the progress speaks to the diligent work being implemented under the project, especially in light of the multiple setbacks and changes in the methodology that contributed to delays before 2020.

Sharma also updated the village leaders on the second objective of the project, which aims to strengthen access to existing and alternative mechanisms for resolving land titling disputes.

Under the project, we reverted to the original target of having 210 persons trained in mediation. The project has exceeded in this regard, and thus far, we have trained over 550 persons in mediation,” she said.

Meanwhile, the third objective encompasses improvements in communication and the development of a proper communication strategy for the project.

“The strategy has been developed, it is in place, and it is being implemented. However, we see the need to continue to put funds into this output, to simplify and popularise the whole land titling process,” Sharma added.

The project is expected to end in 2024, and Sharma is optimistic that an additional extension will not be necessary, as work is underway to have these processes completed within the stipulated time.