Granger now agrees to meet NTC
pressure from Amerindians a n d their elected officials President David Granger has now agreed to meet with the National Toshao Council.
The NTC had earlier slammed the government for sidelining them and instead held talks with the Amerindian Peoples Association, an NGO.
In a statement, released by NTC Vice Chairman, Lennox Shuman, s aid, “The NTC hereby registers its concern that the President chose to meet with the APA before meeting with the NTC considering the NTC is the duly elected body representing Guyana’s Indigenous Peoples.
“The NTC is concerned that we are potentially being sidelined for our strong position on the COI, and that this move is meant to undermine the credibility of the NTC.”
The NTC had raised serious concerns about the government’s establishment of a Lands Commission which lumped Amerindian land issues with that of ancestral lands for Afro-Guyanese. They want the COI revoked.
Following Granger’s meeting the APA he announced a five-point plan, which i ncludes t hat t he work of the Commission, on matters specifically related to Amerindian lands, will be halted until all the outstanding concerns are addressed.
The other four points that the President outlined are: A comprehensive review of all literature that has to do with Amerindian land titling, particularly as i t relates t o ongoing programmes; Consensus building on the Terms of Reference; strengthened adherence to the principle of Free Prior and Informed Consent ( FPIC) so t hat communities are fully in-
volved in the process; The reconciling of the positions of t he Government, t he Commission and that of Indigenous Peoples’ organisations; and A review of the Amerindian Act of 2006.
Additionally, Granger has also proposed the establishment of a special body will be established comprising of representatives of Indigenous peoples organisations including the National Toshaos Council.
Meanwhile, the NTC has a standing request to meet with the President. “We are hopeful that the meeting will occur,” the Council said.
The National Toshaos Council ( NTC), which is the elected body representing thousands of Amerindians across Guyana, has been the leading voice in the Amerindian community calling for the establishment of the Land CoI to be revoked.