Granger now agrees to meet NTC

Weekend Mirror - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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