A Lands and Life Commission will soon be established to address the challenges surrounding land titling in the hinterland. According to the Government Information Agency (GINA), the issue has been on the front burner for the government since taking up office in May, 2015.
Minister of Indigenous Peoples Affairs Sydney Allicock, in an interview with GINA, said the commission will address the issues of overlapping with the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) and the indigenous peoples.
- Minister of Indigenous Peoples Affairs Sydney Allicock
The process to establish the Commission has already begun. “Free Prior Informed Consent is a big thing that we have to respect and a lot of consultations. It is not going to happen overnight but the process has started,” the Minister explained.
Minister Allicock pointed out that the issue of land titling is something that was inherited from the previous administration.
He said, too, that the issue of miners exploiting indigenous lands in search of minerals has to be addressed.
According to Allicock, greed has led to persons falling into the habit of illegal mining. He noted that some miners leave large craters where disease-carrying mosquitoes can breed and this is affecting the health of the indigenous people.
Allicock noted that illegal mining not only affects the lives of indigenous people but all those who make the hinterland their home.
In August, 2016, the minister had indicated that a proposal was made for the 2017 national budget to cater for the titling of 30 more communities in 2017. Additionally, the revision of the Amerindian Act of 2006 began at the recently concluded National Toshaos Conference where the issue of land titling was the main focus. (Isaiah Braithwaite