Amerindian Land Titling Project to be extended- Allicock informs Parliamentary Sectoral Committee
Minister of Indigenous People’s Affairs, Sydney Allicock during his presentation to the Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Natural Resources today gave assurance that his ministry in fulfilling its mandate has been ensuring the social and economic development of indigenous communities and preservation of Indigenous culture.
The minister along with a team of advisers from the ministry updated the committee, which is chaired by Odinga Lumumba, on several projects, namely Capital Projects, Amerindian Land Titling, the Amerindian Development Fund and the Hinterland Development and Youth Service.
The most contentious being the Amerindian Land Titling Project which is slated to be completed at the end of October but according to Adviser Enrique Moniz the project is not meeting all of its goals but anticipates an extension.
Thus far 3 villages are being prepared for demarcation, 18 villages were completed with some others in the upper Mazaruni and Pakaraimas awaiting approval.
The revision of the Amerindian Act was also a topic of discussion, to which Adviser David James said there have been several calls for this review particularly from villagers who asked that they have a say in large-scale mining operations in their areas.
Minister Allicock also clarified that the Ministry is working closely with the National Toshaos Council and at an upcoming meeting the matter would be engaged.
With regards to the Amerindian Development Fund (ADF), which comes to an end in September 2017, the minister said it remains on course despite a 10 to 15 percent shortfall in 2016 due to logistical constraints. Each village of the 161 to benefit, will receive 5 million dollars which will be used for Aquaculture and fishing, cattle and cassava farming, among other activities. 138 villages will benefit from the first tranche and the remaining villages in the second tranche.
The Hinterland Development and Youth Service which offers training in catering, music, heritage survival, carpentry and more, is training some 579 males and over 1300 females.
Ministry officials boasted that this programme is well- rounded and will produce a group of youths that can adequately replace their successors and develop businesses that can, in turn, provide employment for others.
In addition, an update was provided on the Jubilee Grant which replaces the Presidential Grant which is given yearly to Indigenous communities. The Minister said this grant seeks to harmonise Guyana’s 50th Anniversary, allowing Indigenous Villages to boost social and economic development.
A follow-up of food security matters, firearm licensing, drilling of wells to allow better access to potable water and educating communities on sustainable management of the environment are some other initiatives the Indigenous People’s Affairs Ministry is undertaking.
The Committee Chairman expressed gratitude and said most matters were adequately clarified with Minister Allicock committing to providing requested further information on the Amerindian Land Titling Project.