Govt to deliver more Amerindian land titles this year

The government, through the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs – Amerindian Land Titling (ALT) Unit, is working aggressively to clear the backlog of applications for Certificate of Titles and ensure more lands belonging to Amerindians are secured.

Speaking at a press briefing on Tuesday, Minister of Amerindian Affairs Pauline Sukhai noted that 25 villages are remaining to receive their titles with 22 of those seeking approval for their land extensions and three villages seeking first-time titles.

Additionally, 39 demarcations will be conducted this year.

The ALT project enables Amerindians to secure their lands and natural resources that can push sustainable social and economic development.

“These are applications that are investigated already. Well, 18 of the 23 are completed…So, we’re hoping this year we’ll be able to address 18 of that 23 including doing the remaining investigations,” she explained.

She highlighted the lengthy process that is undertaken by the unit to address the backlog of applicants seeking land titles.

“An application comes in but it’s not necessarily that we just sign off on it. We have to go down on the ground, we have to hold consultations with various stakeholders, with various national institutions [and] commissions and we have to compile a report with findings and recommendations that will then be examined,” Minister Sukhai explained.

Last year, six Certificates of Title were delivered to villages including Four Miles, Region One; Capoey Extension, Mashao Extension, Akawini and Wakapao in Region Two and Paramakatoi in Region Eight.

An additional five titles were delivered to villages in 2022 including Monica/Karawab, and Mainstay/Whyaka in Region Two, Tasserene and Kangaruma in Region Seven, while Yurupukari in Region Nine received its titles as well.

“Amerindian population is about 10 per cent…And they currently legally hold 16.48 per cent of Guyana’s land mass and that is commendable moving from six per cent to now 16.48 per cent for the years,” Minister Sukhai posited.

This number is a huge leap from when the previous government was in office from 2015-2020, whereby zero land titles were delivered to the Amerindian villages. The ALT programme is being administered under the Amerindian Act of 2006.