Kid-Rodelo James response – why the women of Aishalton, of Deep South Rupununi blocked an excavator from passing thru their village

A letter written by Kid-Rodelo James, a resident of Aishalton, Deep South in response to various articles published which have sought to question the motive behind the actions of the women’s group in blocking the path of an excavator from passing through their village.

Why Aishalton villagers blocked the excavator

Dear Editor,
Please permit me to respond to a letter written in the Guyana Chronicle (17/06/2013) by one Mary Charley.
I am forced to now publicly respond to some of the blatant lies that have been peddled by some people who do not have the guts to write the correct names when writing letters to the press. My family is being used so that bigger issues regarding Marudi Mountains, a new company and ongoing bad decisions by officials can be diverted. Permit me to bring back readers to the heart of the issue.
The issue at the centre of the blocking of the excavator is that the people of Aishalton village were never informed about this new company now operating at on the Romanex concession at the Marudi mines. We do not know the background of this company or what it is going to do. Concerned residents, including the some of the women who stopped the Excavator, asked for the company to come and hold a meeting with the village. The manager Mr Vern promised to come where he was to give a detailed account of the operations of the company. This promise was made since mid March 2013. It is now 3 months since that initial request and we in Aishalton are still awaiting a meeting with the company. There are copies of letter of several requests made to have such a meeting. Past companies, who worked on the Marudi Mountains, developed a working relationship with the villages of the South Rupununi where issues were worked out. Our village, including those affected (Shea, Maruranawa, Awarewanawa, Karaudarnawa and Achawib) have a right to be consulted and this is recognised in the Amerindian Act. A letter written to the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs by Mr Vern stated that he consulted our villages but this is not so. I would like to challenge the company to produce the minute of such a meeting that took place in Aishalton.
A representative of the company also on 11thTuesday evening travelled to Lethem to have our Toshao, who was attending a meeting, sign a permission letter for the excavator to pass through. From reports this representative dictated what the Toshao should write. On Wednesday, without the knowledge of the majority of the Village Council, this letter was lodge with the police.
This is why the few villagers, numbered 25 people, stood in front of the excavator. This number could have been the majority of villagers if we had all known that the excavator was passing through on that day.
At a brief meeting in mid March the company informed the Village Council that employees are coming from outside of the villages of the South Rupununi and that there is not a plan as yet of its operation. Shortly after, equipment and other transportation of the company were passing through the village. On many occasions, these were passing in the nights. ATVs with a certain representative of the company can only be seen in the village in the night at a particular house. What is also very scary to the residents of Aishalton, especially our children, was how representatives were seen on more than one occasion, with high powered weapons in the village. On one occasion, a representative from this company was imbibing in alcohol in the village with a large gun slinging around his back in a reckless manner. Even when my President Ramator visited Aishalton in February, those who were guarding him did not have or display such high powered weapons in a reckless and blatant manner. Guyana is not a war zone. It begs the question: What really is the operation of this company that warrants the presence of such high powered rifles.
I fully support the request to have police come to get to the bottom of this so-called Amerindian Liberation Front that is being propagated in the national news? I would like to go on record that there are a few people in Aishalton including Mr Donald Thomas and Regis James (Ex CDO) who have inside information about this movement. They seem to be the ones pushing the agenda of this movement. One of them is now closely working with this new company in question.
When you look at the shady characters employed by this new company, the high-powered weapons which they carry around, their nocturnal activities and those individuals from Aishalton closely linked to this company and this so-called Amerindian Peoples Liberation Front party, it paints an ugly picture for our village. So, reading about this Mary Charley writing about a terrorist organisation, the police need to closely monitor this company and those closely associated with it.
It seems that the Mary Charley knows many Aishalton issues more than the villagers themselves. I am therefore, openly inviting, Mary Charley, Noel Antone and others to our public meeting on the 24th June 2013. These wretched souls hide behind fictitious names and write baseless articles in the papers, so that real issues of our villages can be diverted. They are cowards who will never make an appearance in my village or write their true names under their articles. All that has been written about my family is baseless and a bad attempt to divert attention away from real issues. My coward friends are trying to do that so they can continue to exploit us Amerindians and take advantage of our leaders. It is not ‘business as usual’ anymore for them where they can continue to gag our voices. Thank God for the few who has the guts to stand for what is right.

Yours sincerely

Kid James