Amerindian group seeks meeting with President on Beal deal

Stabroek News
December 7, 1999

The Amerindian Peoples Association (APA) has said it is unhappy about the way the government has proceeded with negotiations to set up a satellite space port in Guyana and has written President Bharrat Jagdeo requesting a meeting.

In a statement on Thursday, the APA said that serious concerns have been expressed by its representatives from Mabaruma and the Moruka sub-regions as it relates to the project. Residents are concerned about their access and land rights in the area being covered by the proposed deal.

However, the government has assured that economic activity within the buffer area granted to the community will not be disrupted and has entered into negotiations with persons within the buffer and primary site areas for relocation and compensation.

The APA statement noted that officials of the satellite company, Beal Aerospace Technologies, had spoken to residents of the area on the proposed project but added that the community is now concerned about the changes in the information available since that briefing. It also noted that the Beal officials had promised to speak again with residents before signing a deal with the government.

"The APA feels strongly that the government is wrong in taking the top down approach to this issue. As has happened in the past, it appears that once the final decision is made, then the communities will be informed of what the deal is and then they will be left to cope with the consequences of whatever agreement is foisted upon them," the statement said.

The right of the communities to information and to participate in decisions that may affect their lives is not being considered, the APA stated.

The statement also said that some are saying that as long as the sea turtles in the area are safe, the project can go ahead, but this disregards the rights of people who depend on the land in the vicinity and its resources for their survival.

A © page from:
Guyana: Land of Six Peoples