By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Amerindian Act was not designed to operate independently. This is according to Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister, Anil Nandall, during his address to the National Toshaos Council Meeting on Tuesday, October 22.
He said what is missing is the multi-faceted approach needed to implement the act.
“The act was never designed to work alone, it is not a stand – alone piece of legislation, and it requires the input and support of other agencies like mining and forestry.”
Minister Nandlall in the same vein also called for the expansion of the capabilities of those agencies that police the environment in Amerindian communities.
Meanwhile, one executive of the National Toshaos Council (NTC) called for the investment of finance and time by the Government to educate Amerindians about the act. She told the meeting that it is her belief that an understanding of the act on the part of many Amerindians is lacking, which has generated several doubts in their minds of the efficiency of the act to protect them.
In this regard, Minister Nandlall made a commitment to visit some Amerindian communities to help with the edification process. He however dispelled rumors that land titles along with the absolute grants are deficient and different from what others in the country enjoy.
He was stern in calling for the incidents of squatting among Amerindians to be reduced.
“I will not stand here and condone any squatting, the occupation of state lands illegally or private property without the consent of the proprietor, it is the same way I will not condone miners going into Amerindian communities and taking over their lands,” he said.
But despite these assurances by the Government, Amerindians have had to resort to the court to resolve several conflicting matters surrounding the claim of lands and also alleged the illegal sale and reposition of lands they owned.
The Amerindian Act of 2006 was passed on February 16, 2006 and assented to by then President, Bharrat Jagdeo on March 14, 2006 paving the way for Amerindians to empower themselves socially, economically and politically.