--- BO M -
--I C~ovc1-,1erv~,Z crf u)' f~ocus orn Amrn t~Cv~-toprVeCfl F-
-Qove-r Oe1rf ofQiuty-ns focus o0" bmeitnfcliar UeveLopmenz -
Guyana is home to more than 50,000 indigenous people settled in
more than 120 communities and belonging to nine different tribes. The
indigenous peoples account for more than 5% of the country's population
and also represent the fastest growing group in Guyana. The majority of
indigenous peoples inhabit the interior parts of Guyana with individual
community populations ranging from 80 to more than 8,000 people.
The remoteness of the communities, the dispersed settlement patterns
and the difficult terrain occupied, high administrative costs to deliver social
services and lack of human resource skills in the communities seek to
inhibit development initiatives. These factors and historical neglect during
the years of the People's National Congress (PNC) rule has lead to
Amerindians being classified as the poorest section of the population of
The Government of Guyana believes in equal opportunities for all the
people of Guyana and is committed to the development of our indigenous
peoples. We recognize that they have contributed and continue to
contribute to national development. Upon accession to office in 1992,
the PPPCivic Government made a resolution to not only ensure that
Amerindians are included in the national programs but to implement special
programs where those are needed so as to lessen the gap between these
communities and those on the coast. To this end an Amerindian
Development Fund was established, a Minister ofAmerindian Affairs has
been appointed and a Ministry has been established to collaborate with
other Ministries and agencies in ensuring that Amerindians are included as
far as possible.
The Government of Guyana hasjust completed an "Area Development
Strategy forAmerindian Communities".
This Booklet highlights some of the Programs and Projects that are
either completed, under implementation or are expected to be implemented
in the near future.
Coverrmenr' of Cwiymn&s focus on A.mei-ndlcol tDeveLtopmenlr
THE AMERINDIAN ACT
The Amerindian Act has its origin as far back as 1951 and needs to be
modernized. In 2002, the Government started the process of revising the Act.
While the revision of legislation does not require country-wide consultation, in
this case the Government recognized that it was important to consult with
Amerindians so as to accommodate their recommendations as far as possible. A
Technical Team comprising lawyers in private practice and from the Attorney
General's Office, NGO's, representatives from Amerindian communities and the
Ministry of Amerindian Affairs was established.
To date, training of facilitators and consultations involving 111 communities
have been completed. A summary of the recommendations have been sent to the
communities for their comments. These responses have been received and the
Ministry of Amerindian Affairs is presently summarizing the recommendations for
presentation to Cabinet after which drafting will commence. The new Act should
be laid in Parliament in 2004.
9H =inb'rr o(ul
k %NI r4rTC
President Bharrat Jagdeo (extreme left) addressing Village Toshaos at the
National Meeting of Toshaos. Sitting from the President's left are P.S. of the
Amerindian Affairs Ministry, Reginald Brotherson, Minister Carolyn
Rodrigues, Dr. Desiree Fox and Lawrence Anselmo.
THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES COMMISSION
Recognising the need to pay special attention to Indigenous peoples, the
Government supported constitutional changes which resulted in the establishment
of the Indigenous Peoples Commission. The establishment of this Commission
will see Amerindian issues being represented, discussed and recommendations
produced at the highest level. The Commission will comprise of representatives
from NGO's, the Toshaos Council and other Commissions and entities.
The Ministry of Amerindian Affairs will work closely with the Commission in
addressing the various Amerindian issues.
Covernrmenr of'CQiymn.s focus on Amei-ndlco.li DeveLopmentl
The Amerindian Land Issue is considered a top priority by both communities
and Government. In its 2001 Manifesto, the Government renewed its commitment
by stating that the process for resolving the land issue will be accelerated. There
exist approximately 120 Amerindian communities Seventy-six (76) of these
communities have legal ownership of the lands they use and occupy. Some of
these communities are requesting extensions to their existing lands. Additionally,
those communities who do not have legal ownership are requesting to have title to
What Is The Government's Policy?
In 1995, the Government of Guyana in an attempt to address the Amerindian
Land Issue formulated a Policy after consultation with the Amerindian Captains at
a meeting held at Paramakatoi, Region 8. Atwo-phased approach was designed as
(1) Recognizing that the 76 titled Amerindian communities were
never surveyed and the fact that some of the descriptions of the
communities in the Amerindian Act are different to what exists on the
ground, a decision was made to have the communities surveyed and
demarcated. This will serve several purposes. Firstly, it will provide
the communities with a Map of their Village along with clearly marked
boundaries. This will aid in dealing with encroachment issues by
outsiders as many communities complain of such encroachment
mostly by miners and loggers. In the absence of a clear map, it is
Minister Rodrigues with residents of 4-mile Village, Port Kaituma after
a community meeting.
Covernmenr' ofCitYonfs focur s on Amer-Indclo- tDeveLtopmenr -
difficult to have these issues resolved. Secondly, the surveys will
aid in identifying the anomalies between the description in the
Amerindian Act and that on the ground. In this way the necessary
corrections can be made.
(2) Following demarcation, the second phase will deal with the
issue of extensions to existing titled communities and the titling of
What Has Happened Since The Policy Was Formulated
In 1996, the demarcation process commenced. However, this encountered some
difficulties as some communities started to renege on their decision to demarcate.
Several inaccuracies were also peddled by persons with political and selfish motives
resulting in communities agreeing and then later disagreeing. In some communities,
the surveyors arrived without prior notice resulting in some confusion.
For those communities who had agreed to demarcations and then later changed
their minds, this resulted in wastage of scarce financial resources as the surveys
had to be aborted. But more importantly the process was almost halted, as
Government required all titled communities to be demarcated before moving to the
Modification Of The Policy In 2002
Recognizing that some administrative regions had completed the demarcation
exercise, Government decided that it was unfair for communities who had completed
their demarcations to wait on those who did not. In 2002, the Government altered
the Policy to move to Phase 2, which is addressing extensions and titling of new
communities, once all of the titled communities in a particular administrative region
To date, 39 communities have been demarcated with Regions 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 10
being completed. There remain 37 communities to be demarcated of which five
have indicated their agreement to do so. These will be demarcated in 2004.
As a result of a Land Use Study conducted in seven untitled communities in
Region 10, Government approved the titling of four of these communities.
Negotiations will commence with the remaining three communities in February
2004. Three of these communities possessed Forest Concessions and since the
process for titling is ongoing, Government has waived the fees associated with
Five of the nine communities in Region 2 have made their submissions for
extensions and the Ministry is awaiting the submissions of the remaining four
before proceeding further.
Qoveir1merC ofQityaas FocuIs o0" Kme-niclia-r lDeveLopmenc k
It is hoped that once the titling of the Region 10 communities are completed
and the process to address the extensions in Region 2 commences, the other
communities will be motivated to have their communities demarcated. This will
clear the way for addressing extensions and untitled communities.
Classification of Konashen and Baramita as Districts in line with other
The Amerindian Districts of Konashen and Baramita which were declared
districts in 1977 but to which Section 20 (a) 1 of the Amerindian Act did not apply,
are now brought in line with the other titled communities and districts. The
Government has cleared the way for the demarcation process to commence and
the preparation of the relevant titles to land. Section 20 (a) 1 transfers the rights,
titles and interests of the State in and over the lands situated within the boundaries
of the District, area or village, to the Village Council for the benefit of the Amerindian
Individual Land Titling
While Village Councils of Amerindian communities with communal titles are
responsible for the distribution and management of the land in these communities,
there are other areas that are not Amerindian communities but have a large
Amerindian population. The Ministry of Housing and Water is presently processing
the individual titles for Amerindian residents of Lethem, Bartica and Mabaruma.
Except for the conveyancing fees, these persons will not have to pay for the land
as normally done in other parts of Guyana. These Land Titles will enhance the
chances of residents obtaining loans from the banking system.
Village Captains and Councillors are elected through a democratic process.
Amerindians directly elect their Village Captains and Councillors.
Prior to 1992, the PNC neglected Amerindian communities. The Councils are
now given full recognition and all Amerindians are treated with dignity and
Village Captains by virtue of their office are also Rural Constables and Justices
of Peace. While the necessary legislation were in place since 1951 and 1990
respectively, the required swearing-in and training in these areas were not provided
and therefore many Captains were not fully knowledgeable of their roles and
Covei-rlmenr ofCwiymn&s foocus on A.mei-ndc.i. tDeveLtopmenr -
Students from Region
V l One visiting Minister
responsibilities. In 2002 and 2003 several Captains were sworn in as Justices of
Peace but training is still required. The Toshaos Meeting of February 2004 will
involve training in these areas and manuals will be provided to the captains. The
remaining captains will also be sworn-in as Justices of Peace.
Additional training with Village Councils in other areas such as Finance and
Accountability, Leadership Skills and other relevant areas will be conducted as of
Over the last decade significant sums of money were spent on improving,
reconstructing or establishing schools in hinterland areas. Several secondary
schools were established in areas where children often left school at a tender age.
While the programs of the Ministry of Education cater for the entire Guyana, there
are some specific programs that were developed particularly to cater for the needs
of the hinterland communities of which Amerindian communities represent the
Guyana Basic Education Training Project (GBET)
Over the past 75 years the Cyril Potter College of Education has been training
teachers. Even though the efforts of the College have been significant, there is
still recognition that a significant number of hinterland and deep riverain teachers
are unqualified and untrained. In 1996, the late President Cheddi Jagan requested
international assistance for basic education teacher training systems. The Guyana
Basic Education Training Project (GBET) benefits teachers in Regions 1, 7, 8 and 9
through teacher training which is provided by a distance education program. It is
designed to enable untrained teachers to become qualified. Many teachers in
Amerindian communities were not properly qualified because opportunities to
ovei-rvmernz7 of i)ynna.s focus on '.mei.endclia1 tUeveLopmenlz -
upgrade their education were almost non-existent under the PNC Government.
Some 1200 teachers and about 400 school principals will benefit from upgraded
education and training. GBET has already commenced its first Distance Education
Teacher Certificate Programme in Region 1. It is expected, that based on the
success of this pilot, the program will be repeated in other regions.
In addition, the Government continues to train Amerindian teachers at CPCE.
Unlike their coastal counterparts, hinterland teachers receive their salaries while in
training. Increasing the number of trained and qualified teachers in Amerindian
communities has already started to yield positive results.
Guvana In-Service Distance Education Programme (GUIDE)
The Government of Guyana, through the Ministry of Education initiated this
project which is aimed at upgrading acting teachers in the hinterland areas so that
they can gain the entry requirements to attend Cyril Potter College of Education.
Orealla Mission is one of the beneficiaries of this initiative.
This project was designed to introduce a new model of teaching to the hinterland
communities which is compatible with their way of life. Teaching modules were
designed, which seeks to address and incorporate the activities in Amerindian
communities. The teaching is based on a child-centred approach wherein
community support to education is essential. This model was successfully used
in Colombian Amerindian communities. Schools that benefited included Aishalton
and Santa Rosa Primary.
Hinterland teachers graduating
from the Cyril Potter College of
I ovei-nrvmm ern f CrF i)n focus or A meientliaUvelopmrVe f
Secondary Schools Reform Project (SSRP)
This project is aimed at significantly upgrading education in the first three
grades of secondary schools. It was piloted in 12 schools of which some Amerindian
communities such as Port Kaituma Community School, Parmakatoi Secondary
School and St. Ignatius Secondary School, benefited.
Basic Education Access And Management Project (BEAMS)
This project has national coverage, hence Amerindian communities are also
included. The main aim is to contribute to sustainable socio-economic development
and poverty reduction.
The objectives include:
(1) sustained, improved literacy and numeracy attainment
through the primary cycle
(2) expanded secondary access in underserved areas and
The Civil works component of BEAMS would help the Amerindian communities
by renovating some of the old schools and building new ones. Housing/
accommodation would also be provided for teachers in the hinterland.
Through the Innovative Technology Initiative, schools in Amerindian
communities would benefit from computers and other modem technologies which
will be introduced to the schools.
Community based programs which are geared to raise attendance, enhance
equity and restore literacy an numeracy to acceptable levels in low-performing
schools will also be conducted.
The Education for All Fast Track Initiative
The project focuses on major initiatives and focuses heavily on the hinterland
regions which comprise mainly Amerindian communities. The project is aimed at:
-Improving the quality of the teaching force in the hinterland.
Train qualified teachers using the Guyana Basic Education
Teacher Training (GBET) distance education approach and continuous
professional development for all trained teachers.
Establishing satellite learning centers for teachers within a cluster
Improving the conditions of service for teachers in the hinterland
by helping to provide decent accommodation.
Enhancing the learning/teaching environment in primary
Accelerating the Escuela Nueva learning model, which is used
to improve education in Amerindian communities.
Provision of text books
Accelerating the establishment of School Improvement Plans
Upgrading the present school feeding program in the hinterland.
In order to ensure that Amerindians are an integral part of the Cuban
Scholarship Program, Government made a policy decision to include at least ten
(10) Amerindian Students in eachbatch of Cuban Scholars. To date twelve students
have departed for Cuba to study in areas such as engineering, medicine,
physiotherapy and agriculture among others.
President Bharrat Jagdeo and Minister Carolyn Rodrigues
assisting a student to cut the ribbon to commission the new library
for students at the Amerindian Hostel in Georgetown.
Coveri-rmenr of'CQiymn.s focus on A.mei-ndlcol tDeveLtopmenr -
One of the new dormitories for students under construction at
Waramadong, Region Seven.
Public Service Scholarships
Even though the Public Service Scholarship Program was established many
years ago, historically Amerindians have found it difficult to be included. Today
there are sixty hinterland students, with the majority being Amerindians, attending
the University of Guyana, Guyana School of Agriculture and the Government
Technical Institute, under the PSM Scholarship Program.
In addition, the Government through the Public Service Ministry has
announced that University students who are willing to serve in Hinterland
communities for a designated period will not have to repay their student loans.
Once more, this is an effort to ensure that areas and specifically schools in the
hinterland benefit from the knowledge of qualified persons.
Hinterland Scholarship Program
The Ministry of Amerindian Affairs Hinterland Scholarship Program caters for
students from hinterland communities who have been successful at obtaining in
excess of 470 marks at the Common Entrance Examinations. In addition, students
who may not have obtained a secondary education or because of their location
may not have acquired the desired number of CXC subjects, are given an
opportunity to attend technical institutions such as Guyana Technical Institute,
Guyana Industrial Training College, Carnegie School of Home Economics and
Guyana School of Agriculture. At present there are 225 students on the Program
with an annual intake of approximately 60 students.
In order to improve the grades acquired by the hinterland scholarship students,
a library was established in 2002 at the Amerindian Hostel. The establishment of
the library complete with books cost more than $6 M. The investment has had a
positive impact on the CXC results.
CQovernrmenr' of Cwiymn&s focus on A.merI-ndlcol DeveLopment
Graduating Community Health Workers (CHW's) in Region One.
The Government continues to work on the improvement of health services in
the regions. While there is still a lot to be done, significant strides have been made
in this area. Several Community Health Worker Programs have been conducted
over the last four years and a number of Health Posts were established in
communities. Recently, the construction of the Kamarang Hospital was completed
and plans are afoot for the reconstruction of the Lethem Hospital.
One of the many new Health huts in Region Nine.
I (ovei-,rvmm ern f CrF i)n focus or A mt-eicapevelopmrVe f
Cancer Research Project
Recognizing the increase in the number of women seeking medical treatment in
Georgetown for Cervical Cancer, the Ministry ofAmerindianAffairs in collaboration
with the Ministry of Health and CIDA has commenced a Cancer Research Project
to determine the prevalence of Cervical Cancer in Amerindian women. To date,
approximately 1100 Pap smears were conducted in Regions 1 and 9 and the samples
are being analysed. The women will have the results before the end of February.
Several Amerindian Medexes have been trained but there is still a shortage of
Medexes. The Ministry of Health is working towards commencing another Medex
Free transportation, accommodation and meals
Persons who are referred to Georgetown from the various health clinics in the
interior are usually accommodated free of cost at the Amerindian Hostel. In addition,
the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs pays the return transportation costs for the
referred patients to the communities.
Medical Outreach Programs
While it sometimes proves difficult to provide resident doctors or Medexes in
the communities, the Ministry of Health has been conducting medical outreach
programs. Government has also approved for several other institutions such as
the Remote Area Medical (RAM) to provide medical services. Government will
intensify these outreach Programs.
While some water systems have been installed and are working, providing
potable water to Amerindian communities has not achieved the desired results so
far. Amongst the targets defined in the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI)Operating
License, is a requirement "to ensure that safe water is available to or supplied to
80% of all settlements in the Hinterland, ;i,. 1,o i sustainable and cost effective
locally appropriate means by 2007. In keeping with this ambitious requirement,
the Ministry of Housing and Water together with the Guyana Water Incorporated
and other agencies have just completed a Hinterland Water Strategy which will
determine the way forward. Physical work will start in 2004. The Government will
insist that GWI treat the provision of water in the Amerindian communities in a
CQoverCrmenrc ofCioyn.fs focus on A.meir-indlcl 1DeveLopment
One of the wells providing pure water in a village in Region One.
different way with greater community involvement in the design, management and
maintenance of the systems.
The Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) is the Government agency that is
responsible for the management of the State Forests. The Forest Resources of
Guyana are used for multiple purposes including the harvesting of forest produce
and wildlife, agriculture, eco-tourism, research, conservation and protected areas
and biodiversity reserves.
Forests are an integral part ofAmerindian culture, and communities utilize the
forest resources for food, building materials, fibres for textiles and weaving, medicine
and dyes. Several communities are involved in commercial harvesting of forest
resources. It should be noted that titled Amerindian communities own the forests
within their titled area.
GFC therefore encourages communities that are commercially harvesting forest
resources, to follow the guidelines that have been established for sustainable use
of these resources. These guidelines include the conducting of forest inventories
to establish scientifically the type, quantity and quality of commercial stems present.
The results of the inventory and the available markets then inform the preparation
of a simple forest management plan which, if properly implemented, will allow for
the harvesting of forest produce on a commercial long term basis.
The GFC recognizes that it is important that all stakeholders have access to the
guidelines and be provided with the relevant training to enable them to follow the
CoverrmenrC ofCityn .s focus on Amer-Indclo- tDeveLtopmenlr
Several programs have been developed and are made available to Amerindian
communities. These include:
1) Extension services (training in the preparation and
conducting of forest inventories; and subsequent data analysis;
training in directional felling; training in reduced impact logging;
training in forest management planning.
2) The social development program this is an inter-agency
initiative which is coordinated by GFC and addresses the social
forestry and other related issues that are specific to hinterland
3) The GFC Hinterland Scholarship Program 5 scholarships
are offered each year to students from hinterland communities who
meet the Guyana School of Agriculture requirements to do the 1 year
certificate in Forestry. These scholarships are awarded in
collaboration with the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs.
Communities are encouraged to make use of the services provided by the GFC
and can do so by submitting a written request to the GFC.
Recognising that some communities have encountered difficulties in
negotiating Agreements, the GFC is also willing to assist Amerindian communities
in negotiations of Agreements with those interested in logging in Amerindian
While Mining makes an important contribution to the country's economy,
communities have expressed concerns about the environmental and social impacts
of the activity. Some Amerindian communities are also involved in mining that may
be considered non-traditional. The Geology and Mines Commission is presently
preparing a training package whereby residents of the Amerindian communities
will be trained as Wardens. In this way the monitoring will be done by the residents
themselves and the GGMC will be less constrained in finding persons from
Georgetown to be stationed in the mining areas. This training should commence in
More often than not, indigenous communities live in or around areas that may
be designated Protected Areas. Government, recognizing the importance of
sustainable use and in some cases preservation, has begun a series of consultations
with communities and other stakeholders with the intention of establishing a
ovei-rvmernz7 of i)ynna.s focus on '.mei.endclia1 tUeveLopmenlz -
Protected Area System. As usual, introducing new concepts will always have its
challenges but this is one way that indigenous peoples and Guyanese as a whole
canbe assured of the protection of the environment. The Government will respect
the traditional sustainable use of resources by the communities and will not grant
Protected Areas on titled lands unless the communities request it. The Government
also intends to provide the relevant training to local people, not only as rangers or
wardens, but also as administrators so that they can manage the Protected Areas.
In areas where legitimate land claims may exist, efforts would be made to reach
Government will seek to promote and support economic activities in Protected
The community of Konashen has also requested that its land be declared a
Protected Area. Government has responded favourably to this request and the
necessary processes are being put in place which will eventually lead to the
declaration of the community as a Protected Area.
AMERINIDANS BENEFITING FROM TOURISM DEVELOPMENTS
As part of its efforts to diversify the economy and to improve income levels,
the Government has identified tourism as a priority sector.
The PPP/Civic's 2001 manifesto said that it wouldpromoteformal and informal
partnerships with Amerindian Communities and that it would develop tourism
in regions and communities across Guyana including Amerindian Areas. The
National Development Strategy, with respect to Eco-tourism, outlines that priority
must be given to Amerindian involvement and precautions taken not to overwhelm
local capacity and impact ,i,. -,a, .' on the indigenous way of life and that the
indigenous craft industry would be developed.
Government has worked assiduously during the past few years to realize these
objectives. The following are some of the tangible things that have been done to
fulfil these promises.
TOURISM TAKES HOLD IN AMERINDIAN AREAS
Tourism projects by and among Amerindians have developed in Surama, Annai,
Sanata Mission and Shell Beach. These communities are benefiting from the
Government's efforts at improving the livelihood of Amerindians by bringing them
into the main-stream of the economy through the tourism industry. Santa Mission
is nestled between two of our main nature tourism entities and was the recipient of
international support coordinated by the Government of Guyana to develop a
visitors' center and its capacity to host tourists. Surama and Annai have developed
tourism links with Iwokrama and the many tour operators who bring visitors to
Guyana and these villages. The Mainstay Wyaka Village has benefited from the
Covei-r'menr of CtisyCn s focus on A.mer-Indclo- DeveLtopmenr -
exposure that Lake Mainstay Resort has provided and has developed its own
facilities aimed at day-trippers and other tourists.
Tourism projects are being planned by Chenapau. They are preparing to host
stay over visitors who would have been to Kaieteur and want to spend time in an
Amerindian village. Nappi, in Region 9, is also building accommodation and are
developing nature trails and places of interest, recreation and enjoyment for domestic
and international tourists. Malalli, in Region 10, Orealla, Region 6, and some
communities in Regions One, Seven and Eight have shown keen interest in tourism
RUPUNUNI RODEO SITE
Recognizing the importance of the Lethem Rodeo to our indigenous people,
the Government of Guyana invested heavily in building a modern rodeo site.
Guyana is unique in that the cowboys are indigenous people. This fenced site has
a pavilion, permanent exhibition booths, arena, running water and electricity.
His Excellency, President Bharrat Jagdeo and Minister Carolyn Rodrigues
withAmerindians during Heritage Day 2003 celebrations
in St. Ignatius, Region Nine.
CQoverrmenr, of CQityn-s focur s on A.mei-ndlco.li DeveLopmentc
A group of tourists pose at a site in an Amerindian community.
Conceived four years ago, the Rupununi Expo, held annually on the third
weekend of November at the Rodeo Site, is now a fixture on the domestic and
regional tourism calendar.
PARTNERINGWITH THEAMERINDIAN PEOPLE
Guyana's tourism product, being nature based, cannot be disjointed from the
Amerindian people. Where tourists go, is where Amerindians live.
Government has been very concerned that partnerships develop with our
When training programmes are organized, efforts are made to ensure that
Amerindians are included. Many of these persons find employment opportunities
in the industry.
Awareness and Education programmes that are conducted by the Minister
and tourism staff, reach out to Amerindian communities. Visits have been made to
Amerindian communities in Regions One, Two, Seven, Eight and Nine.
Last March, Government reached out across the entire Rupununi and Kaieteur
seeking the inputs of the Amerindian people in developing the tourism plans for
these areas. This report is due shortly.
CQoverrmenr, of CQityn-s focur s on A.mer-indclio- DeveLtopmenlr
Our project with international help to produce small craft items and bamboo
furniture, has begun. A determined effort was made to have Amerindians involved
in the first course. Persons from Nappi, Orealla, St. Cuthbert's and Moruka are all
included in this training. We are committed to including Amerindians in every
batch to be trained.
These great strides have been made in the few short years because of
Government's recognition of the interdependence between tourism development
and our Amerindian people.
One of the biggest challenges for the Government of Guyana and for the
communities themselves is making the communities viable. Because of the remote
locations, it is almost impossible in many cases to implement economic projects.
Transportation costs compromise the feasibility of these projects. However, the
need to earn an income is relentlessly sounded in Amerindian communities.
Subsistence activities are therefore recognized as being inadequate to cater for
Minister Rodrigues examines pieces of Amerindian craft displayed by the
Local Tourism Authority in Bon Fin.
Covei-r'menr ofCityn fs focus on A.mei-ndlco.l DeveLopmentl
In Orealla, Region Six, one of -
the income-generating activi-
ties is making fruit cheese.
The Government will facilitate as far as possible the encouragement of economic
activities in areas where it is feasible. Already collaboration with a private company
has seen the commencement of the manicole project. The Mainstay Pineapple
project is also another example.
In the North Rupununi, a Credit Scheme has been established and to date has
been fairly successful. It is envisaged that with the improvement of the road from
Georgetown to Lethem, economic activities will increase. The Government is
exploring other mechanisms to promote, support and facilitate the implementation
of economic projects inAmerindian communities.
Rice hullers, tractors, outboard engines, agricultural tools and seeds have
been given to communities to accelerate economic activities.
Some villages are provided with tractors and trailersto assist villagers in
Farming and forestry activities.
Coverrmenr' of Cwiymn&s focus on Amer-Indclo- tDeveLtopmenr -
The Government has over the last two years provided chemicals and equipment
to control the acoushi-ants which destroy the farms and result in low yields. More
than $10 M has been spent in this area. This year (21 14) additional chemicals will
be provided for those areas that have not benefited previously. A significant
number of communities have reported that with the assistance of the chemicals
they have managed to control the ants. However, they must now maintain control.
The National Agricultural Research Institute has now developed a chemical to
treat the acoushi ants and is collaborating with the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs
to make the chemical available to communities.
The Government of Guyana has also waived the consumption tax on peanuts
for farmers in the Rupununi.
The Government is working towards improving the agricultural extension
services to Amerindian communities.
The Government's record in terms of highlighting and encouraging the
preservation of Amerindian culture is unmatched. It was the late President Cheddi
Jagan who in 1995 designated September as Amerindian Heritage Month. Ever
since its designation the month of Celebrations has grown tremendously. Apart
from the national Program, which includes events such as the Hinterland Student
Forum, Cultural Extravaganza, Amerindian Heritage Village Celebrations and the
Amerindian Heritage Pageant, communities throughout Guyana celebrate in
September and there has been renewed pride in our Indigenous people. The
Celebrations now attracts Guyanese, especially Guyanese of Amerindian descent,
from abroad. Of course it is part of Guyana's Calendar of national events.
Queen 2003, Rufina
Allicock and runners-up *'
at the National Cultural
Qove1-rvmernf o'f1Qitya f as focus ofl bmeitfnlclia. lEeveLopmenlz -
The Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA) which was held in Suriname,
saw the participation of the Sand Creek Dance Group. Led by Mrs. Dorothy Farria,
this group was a main focus for Carifesta. This was the first time that an Indigenous
dance groups participated in the event.
Several Indigenous persons have also participated in other cultural activities
in Guyana and also overseas.
The Social Impact Amelioration Program, which is a social investment fund
and an execution agency of the Government of Guyana, is the first social investment
fund to include a component specifically designed to meet the needs ofAmerindian
communities. The Government recognized that Amerindians may sometimes manage
their affairs in ways that are different to the coastal communities, hence the inclusion
of a specific component with procedures and characteristics developed with the
communities. The Amerindian projects component started in 1994 with a total of
US$100,000 and thereafter had several increases.
As at December 2000, 77 Amerindian projects were either completed or in
execution with a total disbursement of US$1,060,638. The projects include nursery,
primary and secondary schools, farm to market roads, boats and engines to transport
The Kamwatta Health Centre in Region One.(Minister of Local Government
and Regional Development, Harripersaud Nokta is at left).
CQoverrmenrc ofCioyn fs focus on Amer-indclo- teveLtopmenlr
The newly extended Santa Rosa Secondary School and dormitory
in Region One
school children or sick persons, school dormitories, community centers and
productive projects. It should also be noted that Amerindian communities can
also benefit from SIMAP's regular program and have actually done so. The
Paramakatoi, Santa Rosa, North West and St. Ignatius Secondary schools and
Phillipai Primary School among others, were all completed under SIMAP's regular
The proposed program's impact onAmerindian communities will be increased
through targeted promotion in communities that have never received SIMAP
support and a significant reduction in the required community contribution from
10% to 5% of total project cost, identical to that required for SIMAP's regular
projects. Amerindian projects have a maximum cost of US$50,000 inclusive of the
community contribution and transportation costs, and will require preparation in
two areas: (a) community capacity building and training, and (b) civil works.
Also, under this phase of SIMAP, the menu of eligible projects is broader,
designed to address the remoteness of Amerindian villages, among other special
characteristics. The expanded menu includes teachers' houses, dormitory facilities
for secondary students, solar panels or other alternative energy sources to power
health centers and health posts, transportation for school children (footpaths,
school boats), and river, creek or ravine crossings. Additional types of projects
designed to increase local consumption and alleviate heavy work burdens on
women and children will be developed during loan execution. Amerindian
communities are also once again eligible for the larger regular projects.
A consultancy is currently being financed to address expanding the menu of
additional Amerindian projects designed to increase the quality of life in these
communities and alleviate work burdens of women and children. The results of
Covernrmenr of'Cityns focus on Amerindclio-. DeveLopmentl
this consultancy, once discussed and agreed by the Government of Guyana, will
SIMAP expects to execute approximately 72 projects starting in 2004 with an
approximate cost of US$50,000 or G$10 M per project. Based on the cost per
project, this amount may increase. In addition, this amount does not include other
projects that may be executed under the regular SIMAP Program.
BASIC NEEDS TRUST FUND
Amerindian communities also benefited, and continue to benefit, from the
Basic Needs Trust Fund Program. Communities in Santa Cruz, Karasabai and
Baitoon, among others, benefited from the construction of schools. It is clear that
it is the Government which is responsible for the materialisation of these projects
We are aware that there is a campaign to distort Government's policy. For
example, SIMAP is frequently referred to as an NGO when in fact it is an executing
agency of the Government. In addition, in some regions even before Government
projects commence, some persons claim these have nothing to do with the
Government. These individuals and groups seek to claim credit for these projects.
Further projects executed by various Government agencies including SIMAP and
the RDCs are funded by Central Government.
Anew library for students was opened at the Amerindian Hostel in
Princes Street Georgetown.
I ovei-nrvmm ern f CrF i)n focus or A meientliaUvelopmrVe f
The foregoing was a brief summary of the PPP/C Government programmes and
projects, which are contributing greatly to the improvement in the lives of
Amerindians. The booklet does not capture all the developmental interventions of
this Government during the past decade. Many villages can point to projects,
which were not featured in this presentation. It will take several publications to
review all of the developments.
Additionally, the reader might wonder why there is little information about the
future plans of Government in this publication. The focus on achievements is
deliberate. Another publication would be required to fully outline and explain the
Government's current and future programmes and projects for Amerindian
The PPP-CIVIC Government is seriously fulfilling the pledge it made prior to it
ascending to office in 1992 by ending the discrimination and neglect against
Ameridians. Government is also working steadfastly to accelerate development
for Amerindians throughout Guyana.
The late President Cheddi Jagan in 1992 declared: "Today, afteryears ofPNC
oppression, the conditions of Amerindians have been reduced to below
subsistence levels. The new PPP/CIVIC Government vows to put an end to the
plight and sufferings of our Amerindian people. Our policy is to provide
accelerated development for Amerindians. "
More recently at the 2003 Amerindian Heritage Village celebration, President
Bharrat Jagdeo observed: "At the Government level, what we are trying to do is
create opportunities so that our Amerindian people could become uI. ri,,11I they
want in this society. "
A glance by any fair-minded reader of the material in this book can only conclude
that the neglect of Amerindian communities ended with the advent of the PPP/C
administration. Development now abounds in all communities. Successive PPP/C
Governments have addressed the needs and concerns of Amerindians in a
deliberate and rapid way. Much more work remain to be done and the Government
will continue its programme to accelerate development.
The 'Hinterland Highlights' supplement the information in this booklet as
well as provide regular updates on the developments in Amerindian communities
Hinterland Highlights, a GINA publication, tells all about developments
affectingAmerindians and their communities.
In stories and pictures, Hinterland Highlights is also a worthwhile record of
achievements among Amerindians and measures taken by the Central
Government to ensure a greater integration of our indigenous people into the
mainstream of life in Guyana.
Be sure you read Hinterland Highlights and keep abreast of information so
crucial to your well-being and to the pride you must feel in being who you are.
Portfolio: Minister of
Rodrigues was appointed
Minister of Amerindian
Affairs in April 2001. Prior to
this she worked 7 years with
the Government's Social
Programme (SIMAP) as
The Minister received
her basic education in Santa
Rosa and due to the lack of
facilities in the Region at that
time; she furthered her
education in Georgetown.
Secretarial Courses at the
Business Training Centre.
She received a Diploma in
from the Saskatchewan,
Indian Federated College,
Published by the Government Information Agency
Area'B' Homestretch Avenue
Copyright C February 2004 GINA