MOU signed to address land titling for Indigenous peoples

Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs and Amerindian Peoples Association collaborate

Land titling for ten Indigenous peoples’ communities

− Revision of the Amerindian Act

− Support to the South Rupununi District Council (SRC)

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, January 24, 2019

The Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs and Amerindian Peoples Association (APA), on Thursday morning, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the proposed International land and forest tenure facility.

This project proposal seeks to provide new and innovative ways to address land titling among other areas of concern to the Indigenous Peoples. It also represents an open and collaborative approach between the Ministry, NGOs representing Indigenous citizens and the APA to address these issues in a timely manner.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, held at the ministry’s boardroom, Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Sydney Allicock said the partnership will address the challenges, especially in the area of land, economic development and capacity building and improve the lives of the Indigenous communities.

“This project proposal is one that will allow us to move in the direction of a good life through a green state. Over the years, we have been building capacity in the communities…  we recognise the value in the experience of such organisations,  and the APA is a group that has a lot of history and has done a lot of work and capacity building,” the Minister explained. He stressed the importance of partnership, as it will help to continue the growth of communities, ministries and more so the unification of Guyana.

Minister within Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Valerie Garrido-Lowe echoing the minister’s sentiments said this initiative is one the government is proud of, as it seeks to not only address concerns highlighted by various Indigenous communities but also prospects for development.

APA President, Mario Hastings thanked the Indigenous Affairs Ministry for their support and noted that this step is greatly appreciated as it provides for the inclusion of Indigenous People.

“It is important that we work together and this project, when approved, will benefit our Indigenous people under the three main components of the project which are land titling for ten communities, revision of the Amerindian Act and support for the South Rupununi District Council (SRC) more importantly community-based conservation,” Hastings added.

Hastings said the APA will respect the commitments agreed to under the MOU and stands ready to resolve outstanding issues.

Responding to questions from the media on the relevancy of this document, Minister Allicock said, “we have work to do, we have our people who have to live not because the opposition said that they would not recognise any agreement means our work must stop. The Indigenous people have a right, this is a right to be able to have work continued. We have not stopped working, this is continuous, we spoke about this last year, and even before 21st of December.”

Both ministers noted that they will continue to operate to help improve the lives of the Indigenous Peoples.

Neola Damon.

Images: Marceano Narine.