Amerindians urge end to defacing of sacred site

Stabroek News
February 8, 2000

The Amerindian Peoples Association (APA) is calling on the National Trust and the relevant ministers to take action to protect the Tramen rock painting at Mazaruni, which it said was in danger of being destroyed.

A press statement yesterday from the APA said that there were over 25 names obliterating the ancient figures and symbols on the painting. The APA said the Tramen rock painting is a sacred Akawaio site and a national treasure and the defacing of it was totally disrespectful of the religious and cultural heritage of the tribe.

The APA said a team comprising Captain General of the Upper Mazaruni and Captain of Paruima, Lawrence Anselmo; Captain Czar Henry of Jawalla village; Bennette John, a councillor from Kambaru; APA staff member, Kid James; and Melinda Janki, a legal adviser was horrified at the damage done. The APA said the team visited the area in response to residents' complaints that miners and strangers were defacing the painting. The site is protected under the National Trust Act.

The APA would like the community of Kambaru to be given full control of the site. President of the APA David James said if this was not done, "all Guyanese, not only the Amerindian peoples, will have suffered a serious and cultural loss." The APA said it would be taking the matter up with the ministers of Amerindian Affairs and of Culture and the National Trust.