Speeding up Amerindian land titling among next PPP Govt measures – Ali


…to rehire 2000 dismissed CSOs, expand programme

 …increased grants, access to education also on agenda

People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Presidential Candidate Irfaan Ali has unveiled a slew of proposed measures for those living in hinterland regions, aimed at lifting their standard of living and rolling back four years of neglect.

According to Ali on Saturday, the next PPP/C Government will bring special focus on the Indigenous peoples. The measures, he noted, would target a number of areas that, when combined, will have a significant impact on the lives of the Indigenous people.

“As we continue to celebrate the culture and heritage of Guyana’s Indigenous people, we are aware of the almost five years of misery, hardship and neglect to these communities by the Government.”

The PPP/C, he added, has a history of ensuring their rights, access to resources and development are met. “Your next Government will focus on job creation, infrastructure development, community enhancement and improved health, education, water and other social services. Of great importance would be enhancing the rights of our Indigenous people.”

According to the presidential candidate, the resumption and speeding up of the implementation of Amerindian land titling will be one of the several important measures on the agenda of his party should he be elected.

Among the policies that would be pursued, he said, are increased presidential grants; rehiring of the 2000 Community Support Officers (CSOs) as well as expanding the programme; implementing an expanded hinterland housing programme started under the PPP/C; support to farmers, agriculture and infrastructure upgrade.

He further listed some other policies as “market support for the village economy; upgrading of hinterland roads, airstrips, water supply and other key infrastructure; resuming household solar and computer programme giving greater access to technology; improved condition for education and health workers and remove hardship taxes, reduce cost of transportation, goods and services to hinterland communities”.

Ali also pledged that a PPP Government will ensure improved access to education, with heavy focus on secondary and tertiary education. He also noted that they will provide opportunities for access to technical education in the hinterland.

“[We will remove] hardships taxes that would reduce cost of doing business and prices for essential commodities and services. This, in turn, would create greater disposable income at the individual, family and community levels,” he stated.

“These are snippets of measures the next PPP/ C Government will pursue that would positively contribute to the development of Guyana’s Indigenous people and hinterland communities.”

It was announced earlier this year that the Amerindian Peoples Association (APA), along with its partners, the Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Ministry, the National Toshaos Council (NTC) and the South Rupununi District Council (SRDC)/ South Central People’s Development Association (SCPDA), have embarked on a two-year project aimed at promoting the demarcation and titling of Indigenous lands in Guyana as well as the revision of the Amerindian Act.

This project titled, “Securing and enhancing Indigenous land tenure in Guyana,” is the beneficiary of a US$1.6 million grant from the International Land and Forest Tenure Facility and runs from July 2019 to July 2021.

Government has been heavily criticised for the fact that since it came to office, it has failed to give out land titles in accordance with the Amerindian Land Titling and Demarcation project, resulting in the project having to be extended to 2021.