Public servants should become familiar with Indigenous Languages – Granger

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In order to facilitate effective communication between coastland and hinterland citizens, President David Granger has recommended that public servants become familiar with the various indigenous languages that exist within the country.

“I spoke to the Toshao, and she advised me about the efforts being made to preserve and continue the important language. And it is something that I’ve emphasised that when public servants go into the hinterland, go into Indigenous communities, they must be able to communicate,” President Granger said as he delivered an address during the Heritage Day celebrations at St Cuthbert’s Mission (or Pakuri).

But while Granger did not state how public servants should go about acquiring such knowledge directly, he anticipated favourable outcomes for the village’s Indigenous language project.

“I insisted that all public servants serving in the hinterland must able to if not converse but be able to send greetings or ask questions in the nine languages of the Indigenous people. So,I expect in months to come we will hear more about this language project in this village of Pakuri,” he told the gathering.

The United Nations (UN) has since recognised that despite the immense value of languages, many of them that exist not only in Guyana but around the world continue to disappear at an alarming rate. Considering this fact, the UN has declared 2019 as the year of Indigenous languages, as it seeks to raise awareness not only to benefit those speaking the languages but also for those who recognise the contributions they make to the world’s cultural diversity.

Some of the Amerindian languages spoken by a minority of the population include that of the Macushi, Akawaio, Wai-Wai, Arawak, Wapishana, Patamona, Warrau, Carib, and Arecuna.

So far, efforts to preserve these local languages in Guyana have resulted in Government inviting applications for employment and contracts being published in the Indigenous languages, together with interior radio stations carrying broadcasts in the Indigenous languages and the Education Ministry focusing on introducing these languages in the schooling system.