…the Indigenous voter
They say “wha’ rain na full, dew cyaan full”. But it looks like the PNC’s testing that bit of folk wisdom as it gears up for the elections – whenever that might be!! They’ve been in office for what?…four+ years?? But before the NCM pulled the rug out from under their feet, you’d think the Indigenous peoples didn’t exist. The PNC didn’t just not court them, they went out of their way to insult them on the issue most dear to them – land.
Really strange for an electoral outfit that insists it’s for ALL Guyanese, when the Amerindians are a key demographic – not only in absolute numbers but geographical distribution. The significance of land is completely different for non-Indigenous peoples and Indigenous People – it’s not just an “economic thing”….a “factor of production”. It’s sacred and plays a pivotal role in identity and self-determination.
As part of the instruments of Independence, (“Annex C”) Amerindians were guaranteed full ownership of land they occupied. The PNC tacitly accepted this but did nothing under the Amerindian Act they passed to confer legal title to the actual villages. It took the PPP after 1992 to do that and by the time they demitted office in 2015, over 14% of Guyana had been passed over to them. This obviously irked the PNC, because as soon as they took office, they fired the Land Titling Team, even though millions were unspent.
The reason soon surfaced. They established an “Ancestral Land CoI” in which they subsumed the Amerindian Land Rights along with African Guyanese claims to “Ancestral Lands”. As we saw, Indigenous peoples’ right to land was totally unconnected to “ancestral” rights African Guyanese were invoking. After the National Toshaos Council objected to the lumping together, one Government Minister Keith Scott exclaimed: “In objecting to the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) on land matters, the Toshaos Council had ‘manifested an attitude of avarice which should not be condoned’”.
Pulled up for his comment, Scott was adamant: “I had pointed out that 14% of Guyana was given to Amerindians, but all these years, blacks, who have done so much for this country, from slavery to now, have gotten nothing… I am certain too that many of us didn’t know that there were moves to get an additional 10% of Guyana”. Eric Philips, from the Reparations Commission, also waded in and insisted that Africans preceded some Amerindians in Guyana and, “‘The Government should immediately freeze the granting of land leases … until the reparatory land issue is addressed”.
But with elections on the radar, Granger and the PNC now shamelessly insist Amerindians must vote for them because of “hinterland development”.
They must think Indigenous Peoples are “schupit”!!
Just when you thought we were safely out of the courts and on the way to elections on March 2, 2020, and you’re getting ready to throwback, your Eyewitness is sorry to burst your bubble! You must’ve forgotten that Basil Williams appealed Justice George’s ruling that GECOM can’t take off names from the NRR excepting (by Art 159) – if you’re dead or mad. So what’ll happen if Basil wins, since the Government has some friends in the Appellate Court?
Will ALL the names on the H2H list now become the official NRR to create a new PLE? If so, will it be subject to C&O? And how do we deal with the names not captured in the truncated exercise?? Will the new Chair now truncate the C&O on the old PLE? But if all these questions aren’t enough, your Eyewitness heard (through the grapevine, of course –no assets embedded!!) the PNC’s prepping a “citizen” to challenge the legality of Granger’s elections’ proclamation!
It isn’t valid, they’ll claim, since when it was issues Granger’s regime had expired!! Stay tuned!!
TKR’s Captain Pollard miffed Providence fans gave him the raspberry in the Patriots game. Says he got no respect as WI Captain.
Doesn’t he realise franchise cricket suspends that identity?
He’s TKR and we’re Warriors!!