The issue to Land Titling is a continuous and collaborative process” – PM Nagamootoo

DPI, Guyana, Monday, July 16, 2018

“I don’t see this as a question of making or breaking promises. I see this as a process, I see this as working in collaboration with various agencies and levels of governance to be able to produce a better life for our people.”

This statement was made by Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, who was at the time responding to questions by media on the sidelines at the opening ceremony of the 12th Annual National Toshaos Council Conference.

The Prime Minister was also addressing statements made by outgoing Chairman of the National Toshaos Council, Joel Fredericks who alleged that the government has broken a number of promises to indigenous people, one of them being on the issue of Land Titling.

Prime Minister Nagamootoo said that the process of land titling is one that has been ongoing and there are already some titles that are nearing completion. He noted that vitally important is the Commission of Inquiry into Land which looks into land utilisation so that communities that receive the land titling will know what resources “are on the land, and how best to use it.

“One has to take things into context; that it is not an attempt to deprive but forms part of a national effort to do a land inventory so that we can have better utilisation of land resources,” Prime Minister Nagamootoo said.

Under the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF), in 2013 a GYD$2.3Billion (US$10.7Million) document was signed for the implementation of the Amerindian Land Titling and Demarcation project, which concluded in 2016. However, the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs requested an extension in 2017, resulting in GYD$34.5Billion ($165Million) being earmarked for the advancing of the remaining identified areas for land titling.

So far, 13 communities have applied for absolute grants for the first time. From this group, seven have received approval and six demarcated. Out of 23 communities, 14 have been issued with Certificates of Title.

The ALT project seeks to achieve three major goals: completion of land titles issues and demarcation process for all Amerindian villages that submitted requests, increased use of existing and alternative mechanisms to resolve land titling disputes and thirdly a communication strategy including a handbook describing the process of titling, demarcation and social economic impact of secured land tenure.

By: Gabreila Patram.

Image: Keno George.