Indigenous Guyanese honoured for contribution to national development
DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, September 19, 2017
The impact of the work and contribution of the late Stephen Campbell, on the lives of Indigenous Guyanese, is more evident today than ever. This was emphasised at an event ‘Reflection on the Life of Stephen Campbell’, hosted at the Sophia Heritage Village on Monday.
Minister Sydney Allicock noted that Campbell, who opened doors for those that followed, believed in the recognition of the Indigenous people, “The very thing is that Campbell fought for over 50 years ago, are very relevant, today”. He emphasised that the Indigenous People today must recognise Campbell’s struggle and seek to carry on that legacy.
Several Indigenous Guyanese including Campbell were remembered for their invaluable contributions to the country’s national development.
Stephen Campbell fought extensively for the good of his people and as a result of his lobbying, one of the rights they were afforded, was the ability to vote at the National Elections. He also led the fight for land rights for the Indigenous People.
At the reflection, Minister Allicock asked persons to consider their present situation and where they see themselves in the future, in terms of their contributions to national development. He promised that every year, his ministry intends to organise programmes to honour Campbell; for example, scholarships in Environmental Studies.
Minister Garrido-Lowe opined that like any good leader, Campbell was “a visionary, a very brave man, who was not afraid to voice his concerns. He opened doors for all of us, the Vice President, me, the former Minister and all our university students and honourees and for all our peoples and for this we are thankful”.
She said Campbell’s agenda is very relevant today and coincides with the administration’s strategy to advance the development of Indigenous people. Minister Garrido-Lowe revealed that she will be lobbying for a monument of Campbell to be erected alongside those who would have fought for Guyana’s Independence.
The Ministry also honoured other Indigenous individuals who have contributed to community development, including Julian (Mighty Pakuri) Kattow, Gerad LaRose, Viola Marslow, Louis Low, Muacier Baretto, Iola John, Joan Russell, Pearline Woolford, Vistoria Ferriera, Mildred Toney, Leeland Clenkian, Veron Cheong, Loureen Pierre and John Lewis.
In September 1957, Stephen Campbell became the first Indigenous Member of Parliament in Guyanese history. He is widely regarded as a hero by the Indigenous People and his achievements are celebrated every year as a part of the Indigenous Heritage Month.
By: Synieka Thorne