Hundreds of Amerindians, from more than 13 villages, on Sunday unanimously passed a motion at the Mabaruma Sub-Region District Conference of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) condemning the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) by President David Granger, “to examine all issues and uncertainties surrounding the claims of Amerindian land titling”.
The Amerindians joined with the PPP; the National Toshaos Council (NTC); the Amerindian Peoples Association (APA); the Guyanese Organisation of Indigenous Peoples; the Amerindian Action Movement; the South Central Peoples Development Association, and the National Amerindian Development Foundation in condemning the coalition Government’s ploy to set up the land CoI.
The delegates and observers at Sunday’s conference view the establishment of this CoI as “an expression of gross disrespect to the Amerindian People of Guyana and indeed, Indigenous people everywhere”.
“They view this initiative as a vulgar and divisive device to distort our history, deny Amerindians their rightful place as the first people of this land and to deprive them of their ancestral legal entitlements to traditional lands recognised long before independence and which successive PPP Governments committed billions of dollars towards ensuring that land titles were issued to the Amerindians for these lands,” the PPP said in a statement.
“This Commission, the delegates and observers feel, was established without any consultations whatsoever to further polarise our people along racial lines in a failing economy, which the Government is plainly incompetent to revitalise,” the Party added.
It said the delegates and observers unanimously resolved not to recognise this Commission and are calling upon the President and the Government of Guyana to rescind it immediately.
“They made it clear that Amerindian entitlements to traditional land must not be, and cannot be, confused with the rights of any other ethnic groups. They are separate issues and must remain so,” the PPP stated.
In attendance at the Mabaruma Sub-Region District Conference were Opposition Leader and PPP General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo; and PPP Members of Parliament Anil Nandlall, Pauline Sukhai and Colin Croal.