Gov’t clarifies renaming of building in honour of Indigenous Leader

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The Government has clarified that the building to be renamed after Indigenous Leader, Stephen Campbell is located opposite the Ministry of the Presidency on Shiv Chanderpaul Drive as opposed to that belonging to the National Trust on Waterloo Street, Georgetown.

In a statement on Thursday evening, the Ministry said the building to be renamed is that which currently houses the Department of Citizenship–a building located at 164 Waterloo Street.

However, at a post-cabinet media briefing on Friday, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon clarified that it is not the current building but that which is being constructed for the Citizenship Department, formerly the Foreign Services Institute.

In renaming the building, the government pointed to Campbell’s importance to the Indigenous peoples and in the history of Guyana. Consideration is also being given to the possibility of erecting a monument in Campbell’s honour at some time in the future.

Born in Moruca, British Guiana on December 26, 1897, he was the first Guyanese of Indigenous descent to have become a Member of Parliament.

Campbell is widely regarded as a hero in Indigenous communities after having fought for their right to vote, land rights and for increased remunerations for captains. The Ministry outlined his fight for indigenous land rights, leading to the establishment of the Amerindian Act. Campbell is said to have also advocated for matters including agriculture and education.

In 1964, he was re-elected to the House of Assembly where he was made Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs with special responsibility for Amerindian Affairs.

Campbell’s contributions are celebrated every year on September 10, during the Annual Indigenous Heritage Month celebrations. He died on May 12, 1966, two weeks before British Guiana obtained Independence.

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