Rodrigues says Amerindian land demarcation process moving ahead
Guyana Chronicle
September 2, 2002

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AMENDMENTS have been made to the policy paper on Amerindian land demarcation, enabling the process to move at a faster pace, Amerindian Affairs Minister, Ms Carolyn Rodrigues has announced.

Reports from the Ministry had indicated that the ongoing Amerindian land demarcation exercise had moved at a very slow pace last year, which the Minister attributed to a late Budget and inclement weather.

"My Ministry usually stipulates that the communities have to be surveyed and a description has to be handed in. But this sometimes differs from what we see when we visit that community," the Minister said during a television programme, 'Answers', produced by the Government Information Agency (GINA).

She explained that in some cases, small details are left out, and this could make a big difference when a piece of land is to be demarcated.

This in itself, Rodrigues said, has delayed the process. However, now that the Ministry is beginning to work with those communities, which have provided descriptions, demarcation should move faster.

"There are some communities which are on State land and they have approached us with requests for recognition, but we cannot deal with them until all the lands are demarcated," she explained.

She said that unless the land boundaries are known, requests for extensions cannot be considered.

The Minister noted that the response from the Regions to provide descriptions has been positive and work has begun in Region Ten.

Work is also to begin shortly in Region Two. Some difficulties have been encountered in Regions One and Nine.

The demarcation of Amerindian lands dates back to 1976 but it was not until 1997 that its implementation began.

Amerindians occupy more than 100 communities across Guyana but only 75 of those communities are legally recognised. Of the 75, more than 30 communities have already been demarcated. There are some communities, which have refused to accept their titles and this is one of the reasons for the delay being encountered at present, the Minister said.