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Recommendations to benefit Amerindians made in 1996 to be implemented in 2006

Date: Sun, 15 Jan 2006
To: Kaieteur News (kaieteur_kaieteurgy@yahoo.com)


Dear Editor,

I have just returned to Barbados after spending a delightful 14
day holiday in Guyana and have set about the business again of
promoting Guyana as a viable and exciting prospect for region and
international investors - with renewed vigour.

While on Pakuri Arawak Territory (where my wife and 3 of 4
children were born) I was overjoyed to hear rumours of changes to
be implemented for the benefit of Guyana's Amerindian population
- for they seem to be virtually identical to some of the
suggestions I mailed to the late President Dr. Cheddi Jagan in
1996.

Ten years ago the four main (and most controversial) points I had
suggested were:

1 - That 7% of Guyana's revenues from mineral extraction be set
aside to be spent on Guyana's Amerindians - for two reasons, one
because Amerindians officially comprise 7% of the national
population; and secondly - because despite local laws far more
important INTERNATIONAL LAW says all mineral wealth on indigenous
territories by right belongs to the indigenous people. Since the
Amerindians are the historical landlords of this country, and
most of the mineral deposits in Guyana lie in Amerindian
territories - it will only be fair to spend a statistically
proportionate share of the national mineral revenue on the
Amerindian population.

2 - Replace all non-Amerindian Policemen currently in Amerindian
territories with Amerindian Policemen - unless you are willing to
train the non-Amerindian Policemen in cultural etiquette and
protocol and teach them what the Amerindian rights in
International Law are (ILO 169 would be a good base document).
Many non-Amerindian Policemen do not know that they cannot arrest
an Amerindian on an Amerindian territory for a non-capital
offence UNLESS the village Chief/Toushau grants the Police
permision to do so.

I saw several Amerindian Policemen in urban areas like Mahaica
and Georgetown  - surely  they can conduct a  more effective and
far less controversial  (from an Amerindian perspective) role in
an Amerindian village anywhere in Guyana, the vast majority of
Amerindians resent the presence on non-Amerindian Policemen in
their villages because of their insensitivity to Amerindian norms
or outright bullying attitudes.

3 - Monitor more closely the myriad of so-called Evangelical
Christian Missionaries 'infesting' the interior, more often than
not - they cause division in Amerindian communities with their
'fire & brimstone rhetoric' - which thousands of trusting
Amerindians  believe and hurriedly shed their membership in
established centuries-old religions thinking foolishly that only
the American churches can ensure them a place in heaven; they
turn their back on their own culture, traditions - and even
fellow Amerindians with the truly idiotic conviction that "If you
don't belong to our new church you are going to hell"; the
intelligent ones know that only a fool thinks his soul is saved,
God ALONE will determine that; not some cunning preacher
pretending to be righteous.

The unity that once existed within the Amerindian villages is
fast dissapearing in the false name of God, if the government
does nothing to stop it - observers may well deduce that it is a
new way for the neo-colonial governments to reap the benefits of
a 'divide and rule' strategy; then people such as myself will
have no alternative but to create our own ways and means to
excise this cancer from our midst.

4 - Last but not least, the position of Minister of Amerindian
Affairs must cease to be the current political appointee farce
and become an honest representation of Guyana's Amerindian
Peoples. If we are claiming to be a democratic government based
on democratic ideals - then the Amerindian Minister MUST be
someone who at the very least was democratically elected by a
tabulation of the majority of votes cast by each Amerindian
Chief/Toushau in a nationwide Amerindian election in Guyana. The
Amerindians in Guyana know what kind of person they want to
represent them (not some Political Party appointee) - and I
assure you verily - that person will NEVER be someone hand-picked
by any government without the real ballot box show of support by
our Chiefs/Toushaus FIRST.

The other 5 points (for a total of 9) would make this letter
rather long for publication.

Sincerely,

Damon Gerard Corrie
Co-Founder & President
Pan-Tribal Confederacy of
Indigenous Tribal Nations

            
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