Communities offered more time to prepare for Amerindian Act Revision

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, July 19, 2018

While consultations continue on the Amerindian Act Revision 2006, Legal Advisor to the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, David James said that some communities may require more time to prepare.

James was providing an update on the status of the consultation to Toshaos at the National Toshaos Council Conference at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre.

He said the government is committed to the fulfilment of the elections campaign promise and noted that if all goes well, the Bill could be laid in Parliament by 2019.

Legal Advisor to the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, David James

He said, however, while the idea is to have consultations with as many communities as possible, it seems that individual communities might need some more time to prepare for these consultations.

So far, consultations were held in Region One, Barima-Waini as well as a number of Indigenous organisations and interest groups in Georgetown, however, he noted that the turnout has not been what was expected. This is the case although there were calls by Amerindian communities for the revision of the Act. He expressed that this response could only suggest that persons “need more time.”

“The fact is, we want to have the best representation and the consultations would reflect very clearly what people intend to have in the law,” James told the conference.

James said there are other consultations planned, particularly for Regions Two, Seven, Eight and Nine. These, he noted, will be held throughout the remainder of the year and into 2019.

The Government of Guyana, through MoIPA, remains committed to fulfilling its pre-election commitment regarding the revision of the Amerindian Act 2006.  The Amerindian Act is the primary legislation that governs the affairs of the Indigenous Peoples’ of Guyana. Government is keen to ensure that this piece of legislation is fully compliant with international law and standards which protect the rights of Indigenous Peoples’ and that it adequately meets the current and future needs of the Indigenous Peoples’ of Guyana.

By: Alexis Rodney

Image: Keno George