Multi-faceted team will be sent to assess issues at Chinese Landing – Jagdeo

A multi-faceted team will visit the Indigenous Community of Chinese Landing located in Region One to conduct an assessment of the situation there.

This was disclosed by General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, during his weekly press conference at Freedom House on Thursday.

This is in response to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issuing a Resolution 41/2023, on July 21.

Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic

According to a Press Release from the IACHR, this resolution “granted precautionary measures in favour of members of the Indigenous Carib Community of Chinese Landing, who are currently at serious, urgent risk of suffering irreparable harm to their human rights.”

“We intend to respect the ruling of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, so we are going to once again, send in another team to visit the area and that would be a multi-faceted team, dealing with environment, social issues, mining rights, everything, to meet with the community and then prepare our report,” Dr Jagdeo stated as he responded to questions from reporters.

For context, Toshao Orin Fernandes had stated that Chinese Landing received title to its lands in 1976.

In 1995, permission was given by GGMC to businessman, Wayne Vieira, to mine within the boundaries of the village titled land without the consent of the village council. Vieira has a medium scale mining block. The villagers felt that this was a grave injustice and a violation of their rights.

The GGMC had issued a Cease Work Order (CWO) to Vieira, who in turn had challenged GGMC Commissioner Newell Dennison in the High Court, where he had won, and subsequently in the Court of Appeal where he lost his appeal. Vieira then took the matter to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), which ruled in his favour in December 2017.

Meanwhile, according to the Amerindian Act of 2006, the village council has the right to give or withhold their consent to small and medium scale mining. 

There has been a lot of contention between residents in the community and the miners who continue to operate there as stated in the IACHR release.

“We have noted the ruling, we ourselves are very concerned, the community is our primary concern and we believe that any transgressions there of a social environmental, mining nature, should be penalised heavily, we share that view,” Dr. Jagdeo stated.

He noted that the issue is very complicated and there may also be some members of the community who are supporting the miner.

“So hopefully one meeting in the whole village can help to solve this issue… Let us be clear on this matter, it was the government of Guyana that took the side of the community and the Caribbean Court of Justice ruled against us and we have lifted the cease order, I think there is another cease order against the company, but this time for mining violations,” Dr. Jagdeo said.

He noted that there must be a comprehensive report, “We will ensure that the team has representatives from every sector that will go and have a full-fledged discussion with the villagers and meet the people there.”