While the Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Ministry has recorded a successful year, Minister Sydney Allicock has stated that there are some hiccups as it relates to the submission of proposals for the revision of the Amerindian Act.
The Minister said in 2015, they had discussed the need for the strengthening of the Amerindian Act and when he spoke to the Executive Council on the first meeting, he vowed to take to Cabinet a menu of the amendments of the Act for approval and present them to the National Assembly for passage into law.
He stated that he had requested the Council to submit within two weeks written proposals for amendment but none was submitted.
“I remain ready to work with you to strengthen the Amerindian Act. In this regard I shall yet await your submissions,” he said.
The revision of the Act is high on the agenda for the National Toshaos Council (NTC) as they meet this year to deliberate on the way forward, and address other issues of importance for Amerindian people.
Meanwhile, Allicock stated that while it has been a challenging year, the Ministry has made steady progress in the implementation of their 10-point plan that was announced by President David Granger at the 2015 NTC. He announced that the Hinterland Youth Scheme is up and running and physical infrastructure is ongoing.
He also announced that the hinterland housing programme which is being undertaken by the Central Housing and Planning Authority is in its second phase and they are discussing a significant agricultural project with the International Federation for Alternative Trade (IFAT), which will benefit villagers of Regions One (Barima-Waini) and Nine (Upper Takatu-Upper Essequibo).
“This project seeks to build on the success of the Amerindian development Fund project and we are focusing on agriculture,” he said.
He stated that they are also pursuing an extension into the Amerindian land titling project.