Dept. of Citizenship building dedicated to former Indigenous leader

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Guyana’s first Indigenous Parliamentarian, Stephen Campbell now has a building dedicated in his honour.

The Government on Thursday dedicated the Department of Citizenship’s office located at Shiv Chanderpaul Drive, Georgetown to the former leader. The building was previously named The Bedford House and was occupied by the Presidential Guards who have since been relocated.

President David Granger in his remarks at the ceremony noted that Stephen Campbell was an ardent advocate of protecting Indigenous citizenship.

“He is best remembered for his sterling agitation for the protection of Indigenous peoples’ rights – rights which he felt were derived from their citizenship of this country. Stephen Campbell’s vision of citizenship embodied the concept of national integration,” the President said.

A section of the gathering at the ceremony [DPI photo]
The Head of State noted that “the Stephen Campbell House will stand as a testimonial of the nation’s commitment to protecting the right of every citizen regardless of race, religion or region of residence in accordance with the Constitution.”

The plaque was unveiled by the Minister of Citizenship Winston Felix, Minister of State Dawn Hastings-Williams and the granddaughter of Campbell, Anna Correia Bevaun.

Minister Felix noted that among Campbell’s greatest achievement is the Amerindian Act.

President David Granger addressing the gathering [DPI photo]
“His greatest achievements were the crafting the Amerindian Act, the development of better health facilities, implementation of postal services and the development of agriculture in the North West District,” the Minister noted.

Stephen Joseph Campbell was born in Moruca, a sub-district of the Barima Waini region, the northernmost part of Guyana, on December 26, 1897. He was elected onto the Legislative Council of British Guiana on September 10, 1957.

Campbell pushed for Indigenous land rights to be guaranteed in the independence constitution. He also spearheaded a historic change in bringing to the fore the vital and rightful place of the Indigenous peoples in the mainstream of life in Guyana and its future development.

The path that he carved out for Guyana’s First People, plays a vital role in modern-day Guyana.

The former leader passed away two weeks before Guyana’s Independence in May 1966.

His achievements are celebrated annually in September – Indigenous Heritage month – when the Indigenous traditions and culture are showcased.

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