Rodrigues updates London community on Government’s work among Amerindians

Guyana Chronicle
May 26, 2003

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THE Guyanese community in Britain as well as British residents were last week updated on the progress being made by the Guyana Government in improving the lives of Amerindians.

Amerindian Affairs Minister Carolyn Rodrigues delivered a special lecture at the University of Warwick in Britain after which she met the Guyanese community.

Among the issues Rodrigues presented to the groups were the challenges hinterland communities face in Land demarcation, access to education, health care and other welfare matters, and the revision of the Amerindian Act.

A statement from GINA (Government Information Agency) said that Rodrigues’ visit was prompted by the “untruths, sometimes half-truths and generally inaccurate information” being circulated about Guyana’s indigenous peoples.

“We have a wealth of information that we can share and that is what we did that in London and perhaps we could do this in other places,” she told GINA during an exclusive interview last week.

Rodrigues said that even though the majority of persons were non-Amerindian they showed a keen interest in what was happening in Amerindian communities. Several persons indicated their interest in contributing to the further development of the indigenous communities in this country.

The Minister said that a former Pomeroon resident volunteered her son’s service in conservation since he has attained a first degree in environmental science.

Meanwhile, there were several other indications of potential assistance for small projects and programmes that would make Amerindian communities more viable and sustainable.

Amerindian communities have benefited from several bilateral programmes between the Guyana and British Governments.

Last year, Mr. Adrian Gomes, a teacher of Aishalton in the Rupununi was awarded a scholarship to Leeds University to study Linguistics. According to Rodrigues, Gomes, whose scholarship comes to an end later this year, “is doing well”.

His scholarship comes at a time when the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs and the Ministry of Education are working to incorporate the dialects spoken by indigenous peoples into the schools’ curricula.

Only recently the Macusi Research Unit launched a Wapisiana Book “Let’s Learn to Read and Write Wapisiana”. This publication was partly funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

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