We cannot and must not tolerate injustice, suppression

Dear Editor,

Over the past two decades the Government – both past and present – has been taking active steps to recognise and preserve the rights of indigenous peoples in Guyana.

The passage of the Amerindian Act 2006, the land titling process and community development plans are all examples of the Administrations’ quest to recognise and protect the rights of indigenous peoples in Guyana as well as to ensure that resources are made available to the Amerindian as the first peoples of this land.

The APNU/AFC Administration not withstanding its slow pace of implementation of the land titling process has good intentions of seeing it through. As we are about to celebrate our 50th Independence anniversary – a time when all Guyanese are happy and proud, a time of reflection and a time to celebrate, the indigenous peoples’ rights are being trampled upon, being marginalised, stifled and suppressed by the operations of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) local office.

I wish to draw attention to resources that were supposed to be made available to indigenous peoples through the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) – approximately US$300,000. Over two years have elapsed since the signing of the agreement and the IDB is still sorting out implementation modalities.

This delay and withholding of benefits to the Amerindian peoples of this country, I am afraid, is unacceptable to Guyana’s indigenous peoples and more so in breach of the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) of which Guyana is a signatory. I am, therefore, appealing to the United Nations’ human rights bodies to investigate this clear breach of indigenous peoples’ rights in Guyana by the IDB by withholding and delaying benefits due to us by way of REDD+ preparation activities.

My fellow Amerindians, there is no independence celebration for us. The IDB still thinks of us as being primitive people not worthy of priority while they enjoy the good life (air conditioned office and highly paid salaries), we are being made to beg for the next meal for our own survival.

My fellow Amerindians, let us join forces together in unity. If the IDB cannot give us what is due for us, they must go. We cannot and must not tolerate injustice and suppression of our rights. United Nations (UN) and the Government of Guyana (GOG), please do something about this, since as Amerindians we want our independence. Best wishes to President Granger and the people of Guyana on our 50th Independence anniversary.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Persaud