Several NTC executives...
we have the opportunity to present the people’s position, and develop a tracking mechanism to bring all these issues to light. But the ministers’ late attendance, in my view, is to dilute those issues and take away from them. And we are not prepped to allow that to happen,” he explained.
Ministers of the Government would all be present to listen to a more comprehen- sive presentation on Friday, and would have opportunity to state how they can help to address the issues, but Shuman is of the opinion that most of the toshaos may not want to present anymore, given the issue which has arisen.
The NTC officials told Guyana Times also that issues which should have been resolved since the last NTC conference have again been discussed, and the same solutions given last year have been re-tendered this year. He said that, over the past year, the NTC has been preaching for Government to release the guns seized from Amerindians during the gun amnesty, and Ramjattan has again promised to give the guns back. “Minister Ramjattan showed up and said, ‘You will get your guns back; we have to put
(Form page 9)
serial numbers on them’. Why ( could we not) get this action since a year ago, when we brought it to his attention?” he asked.
The NTC executive had used the opportunity of the opening of conference to condemn recent comments made by a Government Minister who had suggested that Amerindians are greedy.
Chairman of the Council, Joel Fredericks, criti- cised Government “over an incident which took place in the National Assembly”. Fredericks said the organisation views the comments made by the Minister as a direct attack on Indigenous people’s identity, and expressed disappointment with the statement. “( There are) Ministers of the Government, insulting the Indigenous people and calling them greedy, also in Parliament, without any consequence,” he lamented.
He also raised concerns that no parliamentarian from either side of the House had objected to the remarks purportedly made by the said Minister in Parliament. Issues such as alleged political interference in Indigenous communities, and the need for strengthening of the NTC were also discussed at the conference opening.