‘Do not be misled’ by those attempting to stymie Amerindian development – VP Jagdeo urges

Says 160 Amerindian villages submitted village development plans to access funds from carbon credits

Vice President, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo has disclosed that 160 Amerindian villages have submitted their village sustainability plans to the government, which will allow them to access the monies earned from the sale of Guyana’s carbon credits.

Speaking during a recent interview, the VP addressed claims by Guyanese Environmentalist, Janette Bulkan, that the sale of carbon credits was conducted without explicit consent from the Amerindian Villages, and therefore fraudulent.

Vice President, Hon. Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

 “Janette Bulkan is part of the group of people who live abroad and think that they have all the answers for Guyana, and are the conscience of Guyanese, the people who live off of advocating for indigenous people and clean environment, they make their money from that, but they never come on the ground and work, walk in these communities and be concerned about the lives of the people there,” the VP responded.

He clarified that a significant portion of the proceeds from the sale of carbon credits will go towards Amerindian communities and that this comes following consent from the village councils.

“All of the villages want this to be done, they have agreed that the resources should be shared among all the villages. The people in the villages have voted on the village development plan, and 160 of these villages agreed to how they want to spend their share of the carbon credit money, and they have submitted that plan to the ministry, and they have already started drawing down their money to implement the plan,” he explained.

For these village development plans to be forwarded to the government for approval, Amerindian leaders are required to consult with residents in their respective communities to arrive at a consensus.  

The vice president added that the sale of these carbon credits provides multiple additional avenues for indigenous communities to prosper, especially in relation to job creation, access to adequate healthcare, and youth development.

Further, the vice president recalled the failed attempts of the Amerindian People’s Association (APA) to halt the disbursement of carbon credit monies through the invocation of the grievance mechanism under the Architecture for REDD+ Transactions (ART), an action that was opposed by National Toshao’s Council Chairman, Derrick John.

“They found that they had no support from the indigenous communities to stop this. So, now they have resurrected another group in the upper Mazaruni now, to make the same call, since the APA failed. And now, Janette Bulkan and the others are weighing in,” VP Jagdeo pointed out.  

Dr. Jagdeo said it is crucial that Guyanese avoid being misled by those attempting to stymie development in indigenous communities, emphasising that government is committed to consistent consultations with these communities regarding issues that affect them directly.  

Last year, Guyana signed an agreement with Hess Corporation that sees the nation receiving a minimum of US$750 million for 30 per cent of the country’s carbon credits. This year, the country has earned US$150 million.