Amerindian unit Opens exhibition
President pledges public funds, personal support
Stabroek News
March 19, 2002

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A three day exhibition of Amerindian artifacts was opened yesterday at the Hotel Tower with a pledge from President Bharrat Jagdeo that he would dedicate his personal efforts and the commission of additional public funds to assist the Amerindian Research Unit (ARU).

Declaring the exhibition open, President Jagdeo expressed his appreciation and commended the coordinator and staff of the ARU as well as University of Guyana (UG) Vice Chancellor, Dr James Rose, and Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Deryck Bernard. President Jagdeo said that he had already allocated some $700 million towards UG this year and was willing to make a further allocation towards the development of the ARU.

During the three day exhibition there will be expositions of archaeological material put on especially for schools along with the general display, which includes 28 years of research, documentation and several publications. The exhibition also seeks to re acquaint the public with the ARU and its work, including the services it wishes to offer and its intention to continue its contribution to scientific studies of Guyana's indigenous people.

Bernard said that he had been working closely with the unit since its establishment. He noted that the unit was first called the Amerindian Language Unit and during its earlier days the odds were heavily stacked against it.

He said that it was also aimed at serving the state and the government and also to act as an advisory board for scholars. Bernard said that the unit has a bright future adding that it has plans to expand and to engage other people in conducting more studies in Amerindian affairs. He said that the unit was multi disciplinary and it must become a part of the University Of Guyana's programme.

Dr Rose in his address noted that the university had made a bold step when it started the unit. He mentioned that during the early 1990s the unit had lost its momentum, but he gave credit to Anna Benjamin, Mark Plew, Audrey Butt Colson, Elsa Schadde, Jennifer Wishart, Janette Forte and Desrey Fox, who assisted greatly in keeping the unit alive and functional.

The vice chancellor informed that the University of Guyana is now embarking on new programmes, which will seek to broaden the area of research and documentation in the field of Amerindian studies biodiversity among other things.

Coordinator of the unit, Al Creighton, also spoke at the opening, which was attended by several top functionaries including, Leader of the Opposition, Desmond Hoyte, Major General, Joe Singh among others. The exhibition will continue today and tomorrow at the Hotel Tower commencing at 9:30 am and concluding at 5:00 pm.