Revision of Amerindian Act
No request received for extension of consultations

Stabroek News
November 6, 2002

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The Ministry of Amerindian Affairs says it is not in receipt of any formal request for the extension of time for community consultations in the revision process for the Amerindian Act.

The Ministry yesterday in a press release expressed concern over a report in the Stabroek News of November 2 captioned "Revision of Amerindian Act - Region Two touchaus want more time for community consultation".

That report, sourced to eight named signatories in a statement from the Amerindian communities in Region Two, contended that more time was needed so the communities could be better prepared to make recommendations to the technical team. The touchaus had suggested in their release a time extension until March 15, 2003.

According to the Ministry, however, "discussions were held with some touchaus, including one from Region Two and Amerindian organisations, inter alia, with respect to time allocated for each section of the process for the revision of the Amerindian Act."

"It was as a result of these consultations," the ministry said, "that three months was agreed upon for the local facilitators to do community consultations."

The ministry also noted that Region Two, unlike Regions One, Seven, Eight and Nine, has a total of nine Amerindian communities that are quite accessible and three local facilitators. Therefore, each facilitator will work with three communities for three months in explaining the existing Act before recommendations are made.

"Unless there are profound hindrances, the allocation time is considered adequate.

If unforeseen difficulties are being encountered, solutions can only be found if these are communicated directly with the ministry rather than via the press," the ministry declared.

The release said that Minister of Amerindian Affairs Carolyn Rodrigues had a meeting with the captains and councillors of Region Two on November 1 at the Charity Extension Centre to discuss various issues.

"None of the captains indicated that the time allocated for community consultations was inadequate, neither has the facilitators," the release said.

It noted also that some communities in other regions have already signalled their readiness to start making their recommendations, long before the date assigned for that activity.

The ministry warned "persons trying to thwart the process of the revision of the Amerindian Act to refrain from such activities since it could only harm the progress made so far by both the communities and the ministry."

The revision of the Amerindian Act, the release said, had been requested for a long time and various persons and organisations have made several recommendations. As such, for the most part this is not something that is now being introduced to communities.