Gains and Chal­lenges of Our Amerindian Com­mu­nity

Weekend Mirror - - FRONT PAGE -

greatly and is grind­ing to a halt. Much of the gains made are be­ing threatened and re­versed.

The sig­nal on the land is­sue is most trou­bling. This regime seems to be of the opin­ion that the Amerindian peo­ple should not have the lands they oc­cu­pied for cen­turies. They have al­ready changed the na­ture of the ap­proach from be­ing specif­i­cally for Amerindi­ans to some­thing more gen­eral. In fact, the use of the word ‘in­dige­nous’ by this regime would give them room to ma­noeu­vre and can even­tu­ally, once more, deny the peo­ple their lands.

For those who are sur­prised of their ac­tions, the doubt­ing Thomases, I say they should not be.

If there was one good thing that came out of the one-seat ma­jor­ity that the op­po­si­tion had in Par­lia­ment dur­ing 2012 to 2015 Par­lia­ment, it was the fact that it clearly showed the anti-de­vel­op­men­tal and even racist ori­en­ta­tion of the APNU regime.

This was par­tic­u­larly pro­nounced at bud­get time. At ev­ery bud­get, 2012, 2013 and 2014, the APNU and AFC tried to sti­fle Amerindian de­vel­op­ment.

In 2014, for in­stance, Cap­i­tal Bud­get for Amerindian De­vel­op­ment, Pro­gramme num­ber 161, which in­cluded money for the Amerindian Hos­tel in Re­gion 4, the Amerindian De­vel­op­ment Fund; Wa­ter and Land Trans­porta­tion and the fur­nish­ing of of­fices were all voted down. This amounted to more than one bil­lion dol­lars to en­hance the peo­ple’s wel­fare.

They voted down the al­most $200M that was sup­posed to go to­wards build­ing, re­pair­ing and en­hanc­ing airstrips in the hin­ter­land.

They voted down al­most $1B that was go­ing to the Amerindian De­vel­op­ment Fund and funds for land ti­tling.

They also voted against the fol­low­ing projects:

1. The Amerindian Youth Ap­pren­tice­ship Pro­gramme 2. The Se­cure Liveli­hood Pro­gramme

3. The Sub­ven­tion to Bina Hill In­sti­tute

4. The Amerindian Lan­guage Re­vival Pro­gramme 5. The Eco-Tourism and Cul­tural projects in vil­lages 6. The Cul­tural Expo (North Pakaraimas-Pata­mona)

7. The dis­tri­bu­tion of trac­tors and sup­plies to vil­lages 8. The dis­tri­bu­tion of sports gears and mu­si­cal equip­ment

9. The con­struc­tion of vil­lage of­fices and multi-pur­poses build­ings

10. The so­lar panel dis­tri­bu­tion project

11. The land de­mar­ca­tion for Amerindian com­mu­ni­ties

12. The con­struc­tion of airstrips in the hin­ter­land.

These are just a small sam­ple of the projects that they tried to and some­times stopped.

Now in power, we see them dis­re­spect­ing the Amerindian lead­ers. Just re­call the out­bursts by Min­is­ters Scott and Al­lic­ock. Re­call, too, how they tried hard to pre­vent the Toshaos and Coun­cil­lors from meet­ing with the Op­po­si­tion Leader. Fi­nally, re­mem­ber that they were send­ing Min­is­ters to meet those lead­ers in the night while they had the whole day to do so.

This is demon­stra­bly dis­re­spect­ing and par­ti­san.

Clearly, this regime is not moved by de­vel­op­men­tal ob­jec­tives, but by vin­dic­tive­ness, spite and great prej­u­dice.

How­ever, they should know that the Amerindian peo­ple will fight to de­fend their gains. They would strug­gle along­side all demo­cratic and peace­ful forces to halt the de­cline and en­sure the gains madeby the PPP/C ad­min­is­tra­tion will be pro­tected and ad­vanced.

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