Revision of Amerindian Act to be fully participatory
- ministry
Stabroek News
April 23, 2002

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The Ministry of Amerindian Affairs is currently finalising its budget for the revision of the Amerindian Act and has circulated the current one to stakeholders.

In a press release issued yesterday, the ministry said it would make the process as participatory as possible.

A meeting was held at the ministry on March 7 with three Amerindian organisations to discuss the revision of the Act.

The meeting, the release said, discussed the consultation process, composition of he technical team, timetable, organisations involved in the process, and the relevant documents to be circulated to the communities and stakeholders.

The ministry said it had concluded that the meeting was a successful one since there was no indication from the organisations that they were dissatisfied with what was outlined by the minister at the meeting.

A press release issued by the three organisations -- Amerindian Peoples Association, The Amerindian Action Movement of Guyana, and Guyana Organisation of Indigenous Peoples -- expressed concern over the process. The organisations said they were informed at the meeting that a decision on the process had already been taken.

They also said that the composition and the terms of reference of the technical committee were of concern to them.

The ministry noted that even though each Amerindian community had an elected village council or community development council, and each region has a Regional Democratic Council which would all take part in the process, they still felt that the organisations could contribute in a meaningful way.

"Therefore, their involvement at this early stage is significant," the ministry said. "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 release said the Amerindian communities and other stakeholders would be duly informed of the commencement of the consultations.

The ministry said it welcomed all persons who are genuinely concerned about Amerindians to give the activity their blessings and "those having other objectives are encouraged to refrain from casting a negative shadow on the process before it is even started."

The ministry is inviting all organisations or persons to discuss with the ministry any issue pertaining to the development of the Amerindians, the release added.