Dr Gilkes' film on the Amerindians
Stabroek News
March 7, 2002

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Dear Editor,

I refer to your newspaper article under the caption "Michael Gilkes to produce new film on Amerindians" (2.3.2002).

The Amerindian Action Movement of Guyana (TAAMOG) is deeply concerned over the manner in which Dr. Michael Gilkes gained the approval for the production of his new film which will feature the Wai Wai Amerindian tribe of Southern Guyana, in Region 9.

The Ministry of Amerindian Affairs which no doubt issued the permission for Dr. Gilkes film crew to enter the Wai Wai community may not have given the application for such permission serious thought, and its implications for indigenous people. In Brazil an application for permission to enter or visit an indigenous community has to undergo a long process with the view of protecting the rights of indigenous people in that community. If permission is granted, a representative of the Funai Agency will accompany the visitors so as to monitor their activities.

In Guyana this is not the practice and it is uncertain whether or not a representative of the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs went along with the film crew.

In relation to Dr.Gilkes' film making project in the Wai Wai community, I wish to ask the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs the following questions:

1. Give reasons why permission was issued to Dr. Michael Gilkes to conduct filmmaking activities in the Wai Wai community?

2. Did the Wai Wai community give its informed consent?

3. What is the length of stay of the film making crew in the community?

4. Did a representative of the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs accompany the film making crew to monitor their activities?

5. Were guidelines or rules issued to the film making crew for the proper management of their activities and conduct?

6. What are the financial benefits for each indigenous actor or any other person hired by the film making crew? Will there be written and signed contracts?

7. What financial and other benefits will the Wai Wai community receive from Dr. Gilkes' film making business.

Yours faithfully,

Peter Persaud,



Editor's note

Dr Gilkes has visited the community and has been advised by Mr Joe Singh and Ms Stephanie Hueltser who are very close to the community. All the customs of the community will be respected, no alcohol will be taken there, and a substantial sum has been paid.