Amerindian communities can speak for themselves, they don't need self-appointed organisations
Stabroek News
November 15, 2001

Dear Editor,

We feel that President Jagdeo does not have to make any apology to the Amerindian people of this country. His remarks were specifically made about a "local group...which professes to represent the affairs of Amerindian peoples..." and not about the Amerindian people.

For a long time we the Amerindian people have been silent and invisible while others claim to speak for us. We feel that Amerindian Communities have a right to speak for ourselves and we do not need anybody else to represent us. The only people who can represent us are the Touchaus that are elected by Amerindian Communities.

In Region 8 the Amerindian Communities have repeatedly said that the body which represents us is the Amerindian Touchaus Area Council which is made up of the elected Touchaus from each village. We are the leaders chosen by our people to represent Amerindian rights in Kaieteur National Park and Orinduik. We feel strongly that Touchaus owe their duty and loyalty to their Communities and not to any organisation. Apart from a captain's monthly stipend of $7,000 for village duties we are not paid for our work. The Amerindian Touchaus Area Council does not receive any funding for advocacy or for representing the Amerindian Communities. We do it because we serve our Communities.

We cannot speak for any organisation but in Rgion 8 the Government of Guyana has already agreed to sit down and discuss with the Amerindian Touchaus Area Council, Amerindian concerns on Kaieteur. It is we the communities, not a self-appointed organisation, who will speak to Government about our concerns.

Yours faithfully

Hampton King


Monkey Mountain