Amerindian Ministry makes its position clear on Amerindian Act
Guyana Chronicle
April 23, 2002

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THE Ministry of Amerindian Affairs, said in a statement dated April 16, 2002, that it wants to clarify its position as regards to an article that was published in the ‘Sunday Stabroek’ of April 14, 2002. The story was captioned “Indigenous bodies concerned about process to review Amerindian Act”.

The statement read: “At a meeting called by the Minister on March 7, 2002 to discuss the process of revising the Amerindian Act, the three Amerindian organisations were invited. The organisations welcomed the Ministry’s initiative in starting the long awaited process and intimated as much.

“In addition, the following (topics) were discussed: the consultation process; the composition of the technical team; the timetable; the organisations’ involvement in the process and the relevant documents to be circulated to the communities and other stakeholders.

“During this meeting, there was no indication from any of the representatives present that they were dissatisfied with any of the above as outlined by the Minister. In fact, among other things they suggested a time frame, which was accepted by the Ministry. The Ministry concluded that the meeting was successful.

“It should be noted that even though each Amerindian community has an elected Village Council/Community Development Council, and each region has a Regional Democratic Council, entities that would definitely be part of the process, the Ministry felt that the Amerindian Organisations might be able to contribute in a meaningful way. Therefore, their involvement at this early stage is significant.

“While it is recognised that input from Amerindian organisations is important, it should be noted that ultimately it is the Ministry’s responsibility to have the Act successfully revised.

“The Ministry is presently finalising the budget and the circulation of the existing Amerindian Act and related documents will be done shortly. The communities and other stakeholders will be duly informed of the commencement of the consultations. The objective is to make the process as participatory as is possible.

“The Ministry welcomes all persons who are genuinely concerned about Amerindians to give this activity their blessings; those having other objectives are encouraged to refrain from casting a negative shadow on the process before it is even started.

“Finally, all organisations or persons are welcome to discuss any issue pertaining to the development of Amerindians with the Ministry,” the statement concluded.