Seminar to revise Amerindian Act launched

March 16, 2017

A collective grouping of indigenous peoples’ organisations and leaders are meeting in a seminar over the next three days to discuss a way forward on the revision of the Amerindian Act 2006 including a process to ensure that the revision takes place in a timely manner.  This activity is being held at the Moray House, Georgetown and is organised by the National Toshaos Council (NTC) in collaboration with the Amerindian Peoples Association (APA).  In addition to the NTC and the APA, other organisations participating in the seminar are the Guyanese Organisation of Indigenous Peoples (GOIP), National Amerindian Development Foundation (NADF), The Amerindian Action Movement (TAAMOG), the Indigenous Peoples Commission (IPC) and other community leaders.

Lasting a total of three days, the seminar will discuss the pros and cons of the Amerindian Act including indigenous peoples’ land rights, the extractive sector and their impacts on indigenous peoples, protected areas, and decisions making, among other things. The first two days of the meeting will primarily focus on understanding the basic components of the Act and its strengths and weaknesses, and comparing this with the Constitution as well as international law.

On the third day, the seminar will then focus on a process for revision and it is expected that the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples Affairs will participate in this session as they will be expected to take the amendments through Parliament. Speaking at the opening of the seminar, Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock said that his ministry has an estimated $10M set aside to fund further discussions on revisions to the Amerindian Act 2006.

This three day activity is being supported under a larger APA project ”Protecting Forests Through Protecting Right in Guyana” which the organization has embarked on with funding from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) through partnership with the Rainforest Foundation US and the Forest Peoples Programme.  It is expected that the organizational partnership among indigenous peoples will continue through to the final process of the revision.

Seminar1: Chair of the National Toshaos Council, Joel Frederick addressing participants at the Amerindian Act 2006 revision seminar in Moray House.