Gov’t reaffirms commitment to investing in Amerindian development – Min. Sukhai tells UN Forum

Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai has reaffirmed the government’s commitment to investing in the development of Amerindians on all fronts and also to respect, promote and advance their rights.

Minister Sukhai was at the time delivering remarks on the Future work of the Permanent Forum, including issues considered by the Economic and Social Council, the outcome document of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, and emerging issues, during week two of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, which is being held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

The Amerindian affairs minister informed the forum that Guyana’s constitution preserves the rights of Amerindians, including protecting their culture and way of life.

Additionally, the Amerindian Act 2006 is the primary legislation which further codifies these rights. We recognise that laws are not static and this year we will commence a comprehensive consultative process to review the Amerindian Act with a view to strengthening its provisions,” she highlighted on Monday.

She also explained that legislation must be complemented with real programmes and among the government priorities for Amerindians are education and training, food security and nutrition, and direct provision of financial resources to Village Councils to address priorities they would have designed and approved.

“On education, we have achieved universal Primary education and are close to attaining universal Secondary education. Training, ICT connectivity, and the construction of secondary schools, with accommodation facilities, has significantly contributed to an increase in the number of students accessing and completing secondary education,” Minister Sukhai relayed.

The government has also embarked on a number of programmes to improve and increase food security in these villages, which are threatened by the impacts of climate change.

These include providing agricultural machinery, implements, seed nurseries, and transfer of technology for crops, livestock, and aquaculture.

“Amerindian Villages in Guyana develop their own Village Sustainable Plans. The Government provides financial resources to support their implementation along with capacity building, as requested by the Villages,” she added.