Congratulations to National Awardees Tony James and Lawrence Anselmo

The Amerindian Peoples Association (APA) is elated to congratulate Tony James and Lawrence Anselmo on being awarded the Golden Arrow of Achievement (AA). They were credited with the National Awards for their outstanding service to Guyana and specifically Indigenous Peoples.

Both have been past presidents of the APA and were bestowed their awards at the National Cultural Centre, by His Excellency David Granger on 7 October. James and Anselmo have both been longstanding and dedicated advocates for the rights of Indigenous Peoples in Guyana and have lent their invaluable expertise to the APA.

Anselmo received the award “for his unflinching commitment in the safeguarding of the rights of the indigenous peoples of Guyana and his research in the Arecuna language”. He was recognized for his work in highlighting the livelihoods of Indigenous Peoples, particularly the Arecuna people in the western Guyana. He was also the Toshao of Paruima village for over 20 years, the only Arecuna community in the country and was a founding member of the APA in 1991.

Meanwhile, James also known as Chief was the “show stealer” of the award ceremony for appearing in traditional Indigenous wear. He was loudly applauded as he walked to receive his award from the Commander-in-Chief “for his advocacy for the rights of the indigenous peoples at the village and national levels.” James’s citation read that his work contributed significantly to the advancement of Indigenous Peoples in Guyana. The advocate was also the Toshao of Aishalton in the South Rupununi region for a number of years.

After the ceremony, James spoke to the Guyana Information Agency (GINA) where he shared his thoughts about the award. He said that it was not an easy job dedicating his life to the service of others. The former Toshao shared that he had even received threats during his work as an advocate.

“I never knew that I would have been this type of person to be the voice of those who cannot speak. It is not an easy job because I do not have a real job or a salary but my commitment is to the people, who do not have a voice,” said James.

In an emotionally charged moment James and Anselmo congratulated each other in a meaningful embrace following the conclusion of the award ceremony. The APA wholeheartedly congratulates Tony James and Lawrence Anselmo on their awards and looks forward to their continued efforts in advancing the rights of Guyana’s Indigenous Peoples

In addition to the two awardees, the APA would also like to congratulate Robert Frederick Allicock, Maucir Baretto, Marjorie Eleanor Charles and Philip Duncan for their unrelenting contributions to the advancement of Indigenous Peoples in Guyana.


Tony James aka Chief (left) and Lawrence Anselmo moments after receiving their Golden Arrow of Achievement National Awards.