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APA wants equal, full participation in Amerindian Act review

The Guyana Chronicle
20 January 2002

THE Amerindian Peoples Association (APA) is calling for qual and full participation in the review of the Amerindian Act.

The APA made this call during its recent Sixth General Assembly held at Mainstay/Whyaka, Essequibo Coast, Region Two (Pomeroon/Supenaam) where more than 93 representatives from all over the country participated in the event. Special invitees were also present during the three-day Assembly.

The General Assembly of APA is the highest decision-making body of the organisation and it is the forum where decisions are made regarding the work plan of the organisation and where the Executive Committee to lead the organisation is elected by its members, the APA said in a statement.

Reports on activities of members were made by Executive Members and the APA Central Office of the Assembly and several issues were discussed during the three days, the organisation said.

According to the APA, these included protected areas, revision of the Amerindian Act, Amerindian women's concern, youth issues, the Indigenous Peoples Commission, Amerindian leadership and Amerindian land rights, and administrative matters regarding the organisation.

Discussions resulted in a number of decisions being taken that will set the pace for the work of the organisation over the next three years, the APA said.

It said these decisions were that the Amerindian peoples must have full ownership and control of their ancestral lands; have the right to own and manage protected areas in their traditional lands for the benefit of their peoples and for all Guyanese; have equal and full participation in the review of the Amerindian Act; that there must be representation of Amerindian youth and women at the regional and national levels; and that the National Assembly must not name more than five persons to the Indigenous Peoples Commission.

The APA said these and other decisions are included in resolutions that were adopted by the Assembly and which will be distributed to the government, embassies, NGOs and other interest groups and individuals.

According to the APA, elections of the Executive Committee resulted in the following persons being named as the office bearers of the organisation over the next two (three years): President, Tony James who is the Toshao of Aishalton and Chief of Chiefs of the Region Nine Toshaos Council; Vice President, Yvonne Pearson who is the Toshao of Mainstay/Whyaka Village; Secretary, Earl Thomas of Wakapao, Pomeroon; Treasurer, David James of Santa Rosa, Moruca, Region One; and Assistant/Secretary/Treasurer, Anderson Hastings who is the Toshao of Kako, Upper Mazaruni, Region Seven.

Regional representatives are Sharon Atkinson of the Moruca Sub-region; Alvin Daniels of the Mabaruma sub-region; Nicholas Jones of Matthews Ridge sub-region of Region One; Joel Fredericks of Region Two; Clyde Henry of Upper Mazaruni and Devroy Thomas of Cuyuni - both from Region Seven; Jimmy James of North Pakaraimas and Stanley MacGarrel of Potaro (Region 8); and from Region Nine - Ron James from Deep South Rupununi, Toshao Austin Issacs of Central and South Central Rupununi and Toshao Andrew Alberts Jr. of the South Pakaraimas.

A decision was taken at this year's Assembly to increase the period between Assemblies to three years.