Monday, March 31, 2008

Guyana ratifies convention on mutual assistance in criminal matters

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (GINA): The government of Guyana through the National Assembly has ratified the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters which will serve as a legal basis of shared support in criminal issues between the United States and Guyana.

Minister of Amerindian Affairs Carolyn Rodrigues who put forward the Motion said the growth in trans-border crimes generally confirmed the need for increased international law cooperation.

“Extradition treaties and Convention of this type in general are essential tools in this effort…The negotiation of mutual legal assistance treaties is an important part of the administration’s many efforts to address international crime, as reflected in the International Crime Control Strategy,” Rodrigues said.

The Minister who was speaking at the March 27 sitting of the House said one important measure to address the problem is to enhance the ability of local law enforcement officials to cooperate effectively with overseas counterparts in investigating and prosecuting international criminal cases.

“Similarly, mutual legal assistance treaties are vitally needed to provide witness testimony, records and other evidence in a form admissible in criminal prosecutions. The instrument before you today will be an important tool in Guyana achieving this goal,” Rodrigues asserted.

Guyana signed the Convention on February 28, 2006. To date 22 of the 34 member states of the Organisation of American States (OAS) have ratified the convention that was negotiated at the OAS in the mid-1980s and was adopted and opened for signature by the OAS General Assembly on May 23, 1992.

Meanwhile, the Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and other related Materials was also ratified in the National Assembly.

“The purpose of this convention is to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms, ammunition, explosives and other related materials, and to promote and facilitate cooperation, exchange of information and experience among states parties in this regard,” Rodrigues explained.

The Guyana government’s effort to address the illicit manufacturing and trafficking of firearms were outlined by the Minister.

“As a government we have not been blind to the changing face of crime and criminality. We have taken specific note of the increased use of guns in the commission of crimes and have acted accordingly. The Firearm Amendment Bill among other things has increased the punishment by including more significant penalties for the purchase, acquisition or possession of firearm or ammunition without necessary licence,” Rodrigues emphasized.

Guyana signed on to the Convention on November 14, 1997 at the Twenty-fourth Special Session of the General Assembly of the OAS which was held in Washington D.C.

Monday, March 24, 2008

All set for Amerindian village replica

GUYANA - The Ministry of Amerindian Affairs on Wednesday made its third visit to Moraikobai, Region Five to check on the progress for the tenth Caribbean Festival of Arts and found that everything is set for the building of a replica of an Amerindian village.

According to a press release from the Government Information Agency (GINA), Moraikobai is one of many villages chosen to participate in the ten-day event from August 22 and has been tasked with preparing the materials to construct a replica Arawak village at the Sophia Exhibition Centre in Georgetown. The village was selected because of its location, residents’ expertise and accessibility to raw materials.

On Wednesday toshao Colin Andrews took representatives of the Amerindian Affairs Ministry including Clive Patterson, Community Development Officer and David Murell, Public Works Engineer attached to the project, to check on the material being prepared by the residents. After four weeks of preparation the materials were finally ready to be used to build the replica and Andrews said that he was happy about the completion and expressed thanks to the residents who have been working tirelessly to have all the materials prepared and cured. He further gave the assurance that his village is ready to begin constructing the main benab for the replica of the `Amerindian Village’.

Moraikobai residents will also showcase their talents in handicraft, popular Amerindian cuisine and entertainment. They said that this would give them an opportunity to display the beauty of their village and to highlight their skills and talents as well as open new market for their products.

Photo: Some of the materials to be used on the replica of the Amerindian village. (GINA photos)


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

User friendly booklets on new Amerindian Act almost ready

Guyana - Special booklets on the new Amerindian Act which are being produced by the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs in languages that will be understood by the Amerin-dians are almost complete, the Government Information Agency (GINA) reported.

GINA quoted Minister of Amerindian Affairs Carolyn Rodrigues as saying that the legal language had been posing some difficulties and the ministry decided to make the document more user-friendly in order that its contents are easily understood.

There are booklets on the Amerindian Act already which are available to the public but Amerindian communities specifically will be targeted for the distribution of these new booklets.

Rodrigues said that the project which started last year is almost complete. `

Additionally, templates of the forestry and mining sectors are in the printing process which will serve as a guide for communities involved in the two sectors.

The minister said the project will be pursued because of several complaints relating to agreements not being properly formulated and the communities losing out.

She said a workshop was completed with the toshaos in order that they understand the contents of the Act, so they could better guide others.

The Amerindian Act of 1951 was outdated and not reflective of today's situation and many communities had asked for it to be revised.

In early August 2005, the Amerindian Bill was presented to Parliament and was subsequently debated on October 20, 2005.

The new Amerindian Act was passed on February 16, 2006 paving the way for Amerindians to empower themselves socially, economically and politically, GINA added.

Source: Stabroeknews