Stephen Campbell synonymous with struggle for Indigenous land rights – PM Nagamootoo
─ “Campbell’s dream and his work have not gone unheeded”
DPI, Guyana, Friday, September 6, 2019
Guyana’s first Indigenous Parliamentarian, the late Stephen Campbell, must always be remembered for his struggle to ensure that the nation’s “First Peoples” gained recognition of their communal land rights. This was the view expressed by Prime Minister, Hon. Moses Nagamootoo.
Appearing as a guest on the National Communications Network (NCN) radio programme, ‘INSIGHT’, the veteran politician said that Campbell’s efforts were also at the fore of Indigenous political rights. A legacy the Coalition Government is keen to preserve, he noted,
“The issue is very close to this administration in terms of giving titles to these communities, in some areas to extend the land allocation…This administration has honoured the advocacy for a number of communities. Land titling is active and progressive, and we do recognise the rights of our people to their land,” the Prime Minister stated.
With regards to the advent of First Oil and the “new economy”, Prime Minister Nagamootoo said:
“While we are focusing on our oil, we are also focusing on our soil and our Indigenous people have been so far, some of the greatest preservers of our natural resources, of our land… Therefore, we will take forward their rights for land entitlement.” He added, “We can safely say that Campbell’s dream and his work have not gone unheeded, have not gone in vain.”
The nation is in a better place today due the to work of many Indigenous leaders, he remarked. These leaders, he explained, have made contributions to their peoples’ welfare.
“You can see all that is happening across Guyana in the hinterland communities, particularly in the Indigenous communities, that tremendous advances have been made.”
Stephen Campbell was elected onto the Legislative Council of British Guiana on 10 September 1957. Campbell died on May 12, 1966 – two weeks before British Guiana gained Independence from Britain. On September 10, 1995, the month was officially designated Amerindian Heritage Month (later changed to Indigenous Heritage Month) and the September 10, Heritage Day, when Stephen Campbell’s achievements are celebrated.