Amerindians are second-class citizens no more
Stabroek News
September 28, 2001

Dear Editor,

I wish to salute my fellow Amerindian brothers and sisters on the occasion of Amerindian Heritage Month. The PPP/C government in 1994, as I recalled, introduced this tradition.

I am proud for a number of reasons:

* Amerindians are finally treated as any other group. We are no more second-class citizens with our women being seen as the sexual delight of coastlanders. In former times, there seemed to be a policy by the former government to ensure that we remained in poverty, and always dependent on handouts from the
* Today, in many of our communities there are schools, health huts and other facilities. Also, there are many opportunities for our development.
* The culture of our people is regarded as equal to that of the major races in our country.
* We are now sure of our long-term survival as lands are being demarcated and titles will be issued. We fear no more from persons coming and taking away our land for forestry and mining activities.
I believe that we still have not arrived. However, the past several years have been the best for Amerindian development in a long time. I call on my fellow Amerindians to reflect on the journey we have travelled and see our progress today as compared with the sufferings of the past years.

Yours faithfully

Francis Hernandez