Village leaders more empowered to deal with Amerindian issues
Stabroek News
April 10, 2007

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Village leaders are now more empowered to deal with issues pertaining to land rights, forestry, mining and governance after completing a three-day workshop last month at the Foreign Service Institute, the Government Information Agency (GINA) said. The workshop's facilitator, international lawyer Melinda Janki worked with the Community Development Officers (CDOs) and village toshaos and councillors to educate them on the New Amerindian Act as it applies to the Constitution and the lives of Amerindians. She said the workshop was conducted because the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs felt that more training on the Act was needed to further sustainability and governance within Amerindian communities. According to GINA, it was intended to strengthen and encourage problem-solving skills among the leaders, and to enable them to become more proactive to deal with problems in their respective communities. Participants felt that it was an excellent, educative process, which enabled them to better understand the Amerindian Act, GINA said, and it would assist them to execute their duties more efficiently when they return to their various communities. GINA quoted Moraikobai's Toshao Colin Andrews as saying that, "It's going to help in the implementation of what is in the New Act. What we are doing here is putting systems in place to deal with issues arising in our different communities."

Among the communities that were represented were Santa Mission, Orealla, Waini, Moraikobai and Muritaro.

The Act allows Amerindians to control their lands and the resources therein which include forestry and mining.

The Act, GINA added, also sets out that Amerindians are responsible for managing and maintaining their natural resources in a sustainable manner and to improve the lives of community members.