Friday, December 31, 2010

Amerindian Affairs Ministry highlights 2010 successes

GUYANA - The first harvest of pineapples in the hinterland is expected in September with some 76,300 pineapples planted on 21.8 acres of land by 38 farmers, Minister of Amerindian Affairs Pauline Sukhai said yesterday.

Highlighting the successes seen by her ministry in 2010 in a year-end report, the minister pointed to the Hinterland Secure Livelihoods Programme, under which several farming projects have been undertaken. In addition to the cultivation of pineapples, which saw $11.4 million expended, there is the $3.6 million cassava project which involves 45 farmers and includes the construction of a $1.3 million processing building.

Some $8.6 million has been expended on a ginger project, the minister said and a 26KVA generator has been acquired which will provide power to the processing plant. The building was completed this year to the tune of $1 million and 27 farmers are involved in this project.

As regards aquaculture, $25 million has been acquired for the rearing of hassars. Three out of the four ponds for the rearing of the fish have been completed and it is expected that this will be the main fish cultivated.

The passion fruit and citrus project meanwhile has seen 42 acres of passion fruit under cultivation and it is expected that the orange citrus cultivation begin shortly with some $8.4 million and 29 farmers involved in the project.

A $14.6 million bee-keeping project has seen 92 bee hives built and in operation with small amounts of honey being harvested by 42 farmers. It is expected that by the end of this year the additional hives will be completed.

The minister noted that the market for these crops is local but the ministry is in discussions with Demerara Distillers Ltd in relation to the passion fruits for the Topco fruit juice brand.

Meanwhile in relation to demarcation of Amerindian lands, the minister said three areas were demarcated during 2010 and the cost was in excess of $40 million. And in relation to the distribution of solar panels, some 1,000 50-watt panels have been distributed to household in various Amerindian villages.

Meanwhile Sukhai also pointed to the $10 million presidential grant for various projects. Some 58% have been used up from this fund she said. As regards the remainder, she said “the villages had proffered a number of reasons why they were not ready to uplift their presidential grant and that is that they would like us to hold it in the Amerindian fund so that when the next tranche is disbursed to us so that they will have enough money to address the project…”

With regard to the education sector, Sukhai said that over the year, the Hinterland Scholarship Programme saw 72 students benefiting. She pointed out that Treasure James of President College had done exceedingly well this year in exams from the scholarship programme.

Sukhai added that the ministry has taken a more comprehensive approach to the school uniform project and seeks to provide each child with a school uniform. Sixty-three million dollars was expended on this project in Regions One, Seven, Eight and Nine which benefited 27,643 hinterland students.

Meanwhile as regards the welfare of Amerindian people, the minister said that 75 persons received assistance from the ministry for referrals, CT scans and transportation cost. And the minister added that 78 social welfare cases ranging from domestic abuse, labour issues and other general issues were dealt with by the ministry.

The Amerindian Affairs Ministry said that all programmes pursued by the ministry have been fairly successful.

Source: Stabroek News

Monday, December 20, 2010

Eighth Round Capacity Building Workshop for Indigenous and Local Communities, the Caribbean region

The Secretary of Biodiversity in collaboration with the Network of Indigenous Women's Biodiversity (IWBN) from the Latin America and the Caribbean, thanks to the generous financial support from the Government of Spain, a regional capacity building workshop for indigenous and local community representatives on effective participation in CBD processes, with a specific focus on Article 8(j) and ABS .will be held in Georgetown, from 16-18 March 2011.

The workshop aims at building and strengthening capacity for indigenous and local community women in order to ensure their full and effective participation in CBD processes and also to grow and strengthen the number of indigenous and local community women who follow and are involved in CBD processes by enlarging networks and outreaching to new participants.

We are inviting interested indigenous and local community organizations from the countries of the Caribbean region to nominate representatives by sending to the Secretariat an expression of interest or nomination by means of an official letter of designation addressed to the attention of the Executive Secretary (fax +1 514 288 6588 or to email: with a recent curriculum vitae of the nominee by 15 January 2011, for consideration in the selection process.

Participants selected will be notified by mid-February. Successful applicants will be provided with economy air travel to and from Georgetown, and subsistence and accommodation costs during the event.

Source: CBD Secretariat

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sub-regional Indigenous Peoples Meeting to Include North America and the Caribbean

Ottawa, Canada (UCTP Taíno News) - The OAS Summits of the Americas Secretariat, in collaboration with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), and the Inuit Circumpolar Council [Canada] (ICC), will host a Sub-regional Meeting with Indigenous Peoples’ representatives North America and the Caribbean in Ottawa, Canada, on Monday, December 13, 2010.

The main purpose of the Sub-Regional Meeting of Indigenous representatives from Canada, the United States and the Caribbean region is to provide an opportunity to follow-up on the implementation of the April 2009 Declaration and Plan of Action of the III Indigenous Leaders Summit of the Americas (III ILSA) “Implementing the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of the Americas for Present and Future Generations”. Additionally, this meeting will provide an opportunity for indigenous peoples to begin preparations for the IV ILSA.

Representatives of the United Confederation of Taíno People (UCTP) will participate at the meeting to provide a briefing on Caribbean regional follow-up to the III ILSA. Other Caribbean regional representatives are scheduled to attend the meeting from Guyana, Suriname, and Barbados.

This event will make up part of a proposed series of such meetings to allow indigenous peoples from various sub-regions the opportunity to dialogue and coordinate their participation in the Summits process. Each face-to-face event will be complemented by the participation of interested parties through the Indigenous Peoples Group of the Summit's Virtual Community website.

UCTPTN 12.12.2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sub-regional Meeting of Indigenous Peoples from North America and the Caribbean: Follow-up to the III Indigenous Leaders Summit of the Americas (ILSA)

Dear Indigenous Peoples' Representatives,

Greetings from the Summits of the Americas Secretariat (SAS) of the Organization of American States (OAS). This Secretariat is pleased to announce, in collaboration with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), the Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC) and the Inuit Circumpolar Council [ Canada ] (ICC), a Sub-regional Meeting with Indigenous Peoples' representatives from the English-speaking countries of the Americas to be held in Ottawa ,Canada, on Monday, December 13, 2010.

The main purpose of the Sub-Regional Meeting of Indigenous representatives from Canada, the United States and the Caribbean region is to provide an opportunity to follow-up on the implementation of the April 2009 Declaration and Plan of Action of the III Indigenous LeadersSummit of the Americas (III ILSA) "Implementing the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of the Americas for Present and Future Generations" and the participation of Indigenous Peoples in the Inter-American System. It will also provide an opportunity to begin preparations for the IV ILSA in the context of the initial planning stages of the Sixth Summit of the Americas .

The Seminar will be open to the participation of anyone from the general public interested in this theme. If you would like to participate, please fill out the Registration Form and email it, with a copy to, before December 8th, 2010. Please note that each participant must cover his/her own expenses.

For those who cannot attend the event, the Summit Secretariat is pleased to announce that theSummits Virtual Community (SVC) will be available for all those individuals interested in contributing to discussions. This Community offers its visitors the opportunity to register and participate in forums and discussion groups, as well as obtain materials, such as documents, videos, links, etc. In the SVC, the visitor can also share comments and opinions with other people who are interested in common themes. To participate in the Indigenous Peoples Group, please click here or visit: http://svc.summit-americas. org/groups .

Updated versions of the agenda and other relevant documents will be disseminated shortly. More information about this meeting will also be published in the Summits of the Americas Information Network at: meet.html and on the AFN's website at

For more information, please contact Andrea Montilla ( or at 202.458.3347) or Celeste McKay ( or at 613.858.7070).

Kind regards,

Summits of the Americas Secretariat of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN)

Organization of American States (OAS)

Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC) Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC)

This sub-regional event is made possible in part through the generous support of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation



Monday, November 1, 2010

Amerindian leaders and free speech

GUYANA - “Except with his own consent, no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment of his freedom of expression, that is to say, freedom to hold opinions without interference, freedom to receive ideas and information without interference, freedom to communicate ideas and information without interference and freedom from interference with his correspondence.”

As many people will recognize the above quotation comes from Section 146 (1) of the Constitution of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, and is one of the fundamental rights guaranteed to the citizens of this country. Or at least to most of them. As this newspaper discovered last week, however, it may be that sometimes the indigenous inhabitants of this nation are the beneficiaries of only an abridged form of this right which everyone else takes for granted.

As we reported on Friday, on the previous day one of our reporters was ordered to leave the premises of the International Conference Centre where the National Toshaos Council Meeting was under way. We had first become aware of a problem last Tuesday, when another of our reporters was waiting in the lobby to talk to Toshaos after the meeting was over. She was told by Press and Publicity Officer Kwame McCoy from the Office of the President that the meeting was closed. On being informed that she was not seeking to go in but just to meet Toshaos afterwards, he indicated that she could not stay where she was either, and would have to wait outside the gate. He drew the analogy of barging into somebody’s house uninvited – hardly, one would have thought, the most appropriate parallel to draw in the circumstances.

Mr McCoy notwithstanding, she did return after the conference was over and spoke to a group of Toshaos, none of whom had any problem communicating their views. There was an eleventh Toshao, however, who informed her that they had spoken to the Chronicle already, and had been instructed not to speak to this newspaper because it carried “false reports.”

As mentioned above, the second reporter went on Thursday, and while he was ordered out – again beyond the gate – it was not before he had seen an NCN reporter and cameraman interviewing two Toshaos. Mr McCoy was seemingly unfazed by the contradiction, and proceeded to tell the reporter that the “media” would only be invited to press conferences. This was the “President’s event,” he said, and only those whom the President had invited could stay.

One would have thought that it hardly needed explaining to someone in the publicity field that the term ‘media’ applies to the state as well as the private media, and that inevitably the government must face accusations of manipulation of information if the independent press alone is excluded. While the President can invite anyone he pleases to an “event” which is strictly private, like a dinner in State House, perhaps, this one did not fall into that category; it involved persons who hold public office in the interior, and who had gathered in what is a public venue for discussions on issues affecting their communities.

Of course, it would be perfectly normal for the media to be excluded from the actual deliberations, provided, of course, that the principle was applied to all of them without exception. Outside the immediate context of the sessions themselves, however, it is not for the President let alone a Press and Publicity Officer to decide which press and broadcast entities should be allowed to interview Toshaos after they emerge from the auditorium. Toshaos and their councillors, like every other citizen of this nation, have the right of freedom of speech, and can complain or give praise as they see fit to whomsoever they see fit.

As we reported on Friday, the Guyana Times had carried a story two days earlier based on interviews with some Toshaos and Councillors about their dissatisfaction with the way the lands for their particular villages were being demarcated. This apparently untoward piece of information deriving as it did from an unexpected source, concentrated the minds of the relevant officials wonderfully, and that very same afternoon Amerindian Affairs Minister Pauline Sukhai, flanked by 11 Toshaos appeared in front of the press – all of whom were invited on this occasion – to extol the demarcation exercise and denounce the offending Toshaos who had voiced their criticisms so publicly, as well as castigate the newspaper which had given them a hearing.

It is doubtful that this little bit of theatre on Wednesday afternoon convinced all the other 166 Toshaos and senior council members that those who had spoken out had no genuine concerns and were just being ‘negative’ for the sake of it, although perhaps some of them might have been so persuaded. However, what it did do was illuminate for the outside world the fact that the government seemed set on controlling the information coming out of the conference, and on presenting an image of satisfied Amerindians committed to the regime.

A major reason for this was given by Stabroek News’s Editor-in-Chief Anand Persaud in our Friday report, namely, that there were clearly “diverse views among the Toshaos over the issues discussed, and that the government did not want these to be ventilated in the media for fear of unsettling certain donors.”

But there is something else too. Hovering as we are on the cusp of an election, the PPP’s interest in the indigenous constituency on whose votes it is partly dependent for its overall majority is at its height. In recent times there has been a great flurry of activity on the part of the government in relation to the interior communities, and they are finding themselves the beneficiaries of all kinds of state resources. Since there is no Jagan name and at this point one presumes, no Bharrat Jagdeo either to provide propulsion for the party’s next bid for office, the PPP is concerned about keeping its ‘constituents’ solid in their support. The problem with Amerindian villages is that they are very far flung, so what better way to communicate with the leaders than take advantage of a National Toshaos Council Meeting which was probably being held in any case quite independent of election exigencies.

What the government clearly decided, however, was to insulate the indigenous leaders as far as possible from any ‘contamination’ by outside entities like the independent media, so that what the Toshaos read about their meeting would not contain anything negative, and those who had complaints or views which differed from the ones which the ruling party was anxious to promote, would not come to the attention of the other participants. Perhaps it was hoped that this would influence their outlook when they returned home, so that they would become unwaveringly positive about the government when they spoke to their villagers, whether or not they had initially harboured concerns about certain issues.

If so, then it would be to treat the Amerindians not as adults, with the constitutional rights of other adults, but as youngsters, whose speech must be monitored for appropriateness, and in this instance, for conformity with the received wisdom. It is impossible to conceive that every representative who attended the meeting had absolutely no concerns, no complaints or no unease about something or the other. Life is simply not so well ordered. Whatever these might be, there can be no justification for abrogating the right of any indigenous leader to communicate them to the outside world, even if they did not represent the feeling of the conference as a whole. The point about criticism in an open society is that the opportunity should be given for it to be expressed and then if desired, answered, not that it should be suppressed altogether in the first instance, as appears to have been the intention here.

When the next National Toshaos Council Meeting rolls around, one hopes that the government will ensure that there is no trespassing on the Amerindian leaders’ right to freedom of expression.

Source: Stabroek News

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sukhai, toshaos skewer Guyana Times report on demarcation

GUYANA - Amerindian Affair s Minister Pauline Sukhai and a battery of Amerindian leaders have condemned a Guyana Times article in which other Amerindian representatives had voiced concerns about the land demarcation exercise.

The minister called a news briefing yesterday to address the issue at the Guyana International Conference Centre where toshaos and councillors have been gathering since Monday for the National Toshaos Council (NTC) meeting.

The article in yesterday’s edition headlined `Amerindians unhappy with demarcation exercise’ quoted several individuals including toshaos.

Flanked by 11 toshaos, including NTC executives, Sukhai blasted the media house for “not knowing the facts.” She noted that the demarcation exercise is done in keeping with the Amerindian Act of which the indigenous people had significant input, including on the demarcation process itself.

“These processes were developed by the leaders from the various communities across our hinterland so those areas within the Act which deals with land have found ownership among the Amerindian population, both community members and leaders,” she said.

Additionally, Sukhai said, when an area is being demarcated three members of the village council are included on the survey team to monitor the exercise and surveyors are encouraged to hire the locals for additional guidance.

The minister noted that part of the documentation requirement of the process involves the communities indicating their satisfaction with the demarcation process and this has been done by the communities whose boundaries have been settled.

“Of the 73 villages that had demarcation we’ve not had a complaint and Kaburi which is the first name mentioned in the article is saying that they were unsatisfied, that they had lost land and their area was demarcated in 2007 and they accepted,” she stated.

According to the minister, “it baffles the mind how such a statement appears in the newspaper when the facts are documented.” She also chastised the newspaper for not contacting the village’s toshao to verify the information.

Sukhai noted that the same community is among 36 who have applied for extensions. Those, she said, will be dealt with after the demarcation of the other villages has been completed.

Meanwhile NTC Chairperson Yvonne Pearson said she was disappointed that the individuals would go to the media to air those concerns when they had an opportunity to do so at the five-day meeting.

“How could we go to the press and say something when we have the opportunity to present it to His Excellency himself and the other ministers at a perfect forum?”

The other toshaos all added their bit, voicing support for the government’s demarcation efforts and “outrage” and “embarrassment” at the report, even going as far as calling for an apology from the media house.

In addition to Kaburi, the other communities cited in the article as having problems with the demarcation process were Chenapau, Kurutuku, Hobodia, and Kato. Speaking to reporters after the briefing Presidential Advisor on Governance Gail Teixeira said there appeared to be some mischief afoot.

“I find it funny that with 134 toshaos here that they didn’t find one toshao that said our land was demarcated and our people are happy. Someone is playing interesting games at a time when we’re having a very important conference,” Teixeira said.

Earlier Sukhai had disclosed that there were 96 titled villages, including the 73 that were already demarcated. The administration was in the process of having seven others demarcated and this was expected to be completed in the first quarter of next year, she said.

Five others are to come under the 2011 demarcation programme while another five are yet to request demarcation the minister noted. The remaining six have taken their land issues before the court.

President Bharrat Jagdeo had announced on Monday at the opening of the meeting that US$8M from the first tranche of money expected from the GRIF facility with Norway will go towards Amerindian communities. Half of that sum will be used to accelerate the land demarcation exercise and Sukhai yesterday said they expected to have that completed in “maybe two to three years.”

The conference ends tomorrow.

Source: Stabroek News

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Amerindian communities to get US$8M of Norway $30M

GUYANA - Amerindian communities are to receive US$8M of the US$30M first tranche from the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund set up with Norway, President Bharrat Jagdeo today announced.

He made the revelation at the opening of the five-day National Toshaos Council Meeting at the Guyana International Conference Centre, Liliendaal. Half of the money will be used to continue the Amerindian land demarcation exercise while the rest will be used to purchase solar panels for every Amerindian home and fund activities arising from the council meeting.

Source: Stabroek News

Saturday, October 23, 2010

National Toshaos Council to meet

GUYANA - The National Toshaos Council (NTC) meeting will be held from October 25 to 29, 2010 at the Guyana International Conference Centre, Liliendaal, East Coast Demerara.

President Bharrat Jagdeo will be the keynote speaker at the opening ceremony, according to a release from GINA.

One hundred and sixty-six leaders including all Toshaos and Senior Councilors, 12 Community Development Officers (CDOs) and Regional Officials are expected to attend.

President Jagdeo will lead a two-day interactive discussion session during which updates on the Low Carbon Development Strategy’s Implementation phase and on several Government of Guyana initiatives such as Solar Panels, Land Demarcation, Funding of Amerindian Villages Community Development Plans (CDPs), One Laptop Per Family (OLPF) Programme and the Amaila Falls Hydro-electricity will be discussed among other issues relevant to village development. The theme for the conference is `Advancing Development in a Low Carbon Economy’.

The opening ceremony will commence at 10:30hrs on Monday, October 25, 2010.

Source: Stabroek News

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Gala launch to Amerindian Heritage month 2010

GUYANA’S indigenous communities will receive US$8 million out of the US$30 million to be received from the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) revenue this year, according to President Bharrat Jagdeo.

Speaking at the launch of Amerindian Heritage Month, at a ceremony hosted at the Amerindian Village, National Exhibition Centre in Sophia, the President said the funds will be used for village development. Citing transformative economic activities where young people can stay in the village and earn a decent living as well as food security, he said every village is currently working on their own plan according to a template sent out by the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs.

Responding to gripes about the money not being properly spent, the President said the money will be budgeted and will have the strongest fiduciary safeguards that can be audited anywhere in the world.

He said it is important to the country and there is no room for pedantic approaches as the development of indigenous people will be at the forefront of the strategy. Referring to comments made by Chief of the Guyanese Organisation of Indigenous Peoples (GOIP), Dr. George Norton, in a speech at the same event, the President said he agreed that all children, not only Amerindian children must have a proper perspective of the struggles of the indigenous peoples throughout the ages. However, he strongly disagreed with Norton’s views about “mendicancy syndrome”.

He said Amerindians are not mendicants, stating that he has great respect for Amerindians who can live in very difficult circumstances, contrasting them with some people on the Coast who will complain even when opportunities are easily available. Again disagreeing with Norton, President Jagdeo said we must subscribe to the philosophy of working together, instead of “who deh pon top”.

He said that even though some people would like that to continue, parties cannot continue to be built on race; barriers must be broken down and people must have the freedom to go into any party and any government that they wish. Calling out to young people he said “take your country over”.

He stressed that Guyana “belongs to us all, and all have an equal place in the land and are equal before the Constitution and, therefore, we must ensure that people have an opportunity to exercise this equality.” President Jagdeo noted that, unfortunately, for a long time, people who live in the hinterland never managed to experience that equality. He said that it is “unforgivable” that for decades in the post-independence period, intelligent children were “doomed” to have only a primary education, where it existed.

Jagdeo said that though the problem is not completely fixed, all children have access to primary education and secondary education has been expanded, noting that the government is now building a secondary school at Sand Creek – a hinterland community. He also alluded to the fact that many Amerindians are even studying abroad. In this regards, President Jagdeo told the audience that he had, earlier in the day, attended a graduation ceremony where several Amerindian students were among the more than 90 persons that graduated.

Moving on to the issue of health care, President Jagdeo said the government is working to make drastic improvements to this area by providing more doctors rather than community health workers to serve Amerindian communities. He said that a part of the government’s strategy is to extend information communication to every home along Guyana’s coast.

Pledging 90 thousand computers to families along the coast, the president said it will be very hard to do that in Amerindian communities where homes are far apart and there often is not access to the internet, but over the next two years the government will work with villages, especially the large villages, to have a bank of computers so that there can be internet access for entire communities.

He said that this is also very important for “e-medicine”, which is an important part of improving the service as, if the distance is so great, information can be transmitted to health workers on the ground, in the absence of a doctor, to make better diagnoses. He said within three years, every Amerindian home in Guyana (some 10 thousand) will have a solar panel to supply electricity.

President Jagdeo also urged his listeners to continue viewing the LCDS as an opportunity for Guyana to create the elements of a market-based system through advocacy. He said rewards are in store for everyone, particularly indigenous communities, stressing that no indigenous community is required to contribute their land that they own and that they have absolute control over their land and will pledge land only if they wish to do so.

He said that even if they don’t give land, a significant amount of money earned from the strategy will go back to their communities, promising more opportunities to earn a living and have a better life without compromising cultural growth and cultural preservation.

President Jagdeo also expressed the hope that Guyanese will use the opportunity of the month long celebration to learn more about the contributions of Amerindians to Guyana’s national culture and join in the celebration.

Amerindian Heritage Month Celebrations were launched under the theme “Promoting Sustainable Livelihood and Cultural Heritage while transforming our Village Economies,” this year.

Author: Michelle Gonsalves
Source: Guyana Chronicle

Friday, August 27, 2010

Govt gives Waramuri $1M for ‘heritage village’

GUYANA - The Ministry of Amerindian Affairs has donated $1M to Waramuri, Region One, as it makes preparations for Amerindian Heritage Month in September.

According to a Government Information Agency (GINA) press release Waramuri was selected this year’s ‘Amerindian village’.

Minister of Amerindian Affairs Pauline Sukhai who was in Waramuri recently to ascertain the needs of the community presented $200,000 to Toshao Bernard Laud on behalf of the village council. The minister said $200,000 was previously given to the council and an additional $600,000 will be allocated.

Sukhai noted that Waramuri should capitalise on the opportunity to showcase itself as a domestic tourism destination as local and international visitors will be travelling to the area.

She said the celebrations will also give communities in the Moruca sub-region a chance to advertise their potential. Moruca, in particular, “is a beautiful area which has a lot to offer in terms of adventure and eco-tourism,” she said.

The minister indicated that some Amerindian communities including Surama in the Pakaraima Mountains are advancing their tourism efforts. Surama, a Macushi village, boasts eco lodges for visitors and this community tourism initiative has been hailed as highly successful. Nearby is the famous Iwokrama Canopy Walkway.

Sukhai said Waramuri can capitalize on the advancement of tourism as an economic activity since it will provide employment for youths and women, and also market for local produce.

Source: Stabroek News

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Umana Yana repairs 50% complete

GUYANA - Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr Frank Anthony on Friday toured the Umana Yana located at High Street and Battery Road, Kingston, to oversee the rehabilitation works being done on the benab, and he said his ministry is pleased with the work, GINA said in a release.

A $16 million contract was awarded to the Captain of Gunn’s Strip, Paul Chekema and his team by the ministry to rehabilitate the benab.

Minister Anthony also commended Chekema and his team for their professionalism and commitment to their work.

Permanent Secretary Alfred King said that the Umana Yana has been a favourite for tourists and because it is a national monument, the ministry undertook its preservation.

Chekema said that the repairs commenced on July 28 instead of July 16 because of the delay in sourcing materials due to heavy rainfall. Despite the late start the rehabilitation work is still expected to be completed by the deadline as 35 persons are working on it.

Fifty per cent of the work is completed and it will take approximately 500,000 troolie leaves to rehabilitate the roof of the structure.

The Umana Yana was initially constructed by Chief Elka and more than 60 Wai Wais in 1972. The construction took 80 days and was completed at a cost of $26,000.

Source: Stabroek News

Friday, July 30, 2010

Motion on indigenous peoples commission carried

Opposition objects to forestry’s James Singh

GUYANA - A motion which paves the way for the appointment of persons to sit on the long-awaited Indigenous Peoples’ Commission (IPC) was yesterday passed in the National Assembly though opposition members of parliament objected to an appointee nominated by the government.

Chair of the Standing Committee on Appointments, PPP/C MP Gail Teixeira, moved the motion which sought the adoption of the eighth report of the standing committee to address matters relating to the nomination and appointment of members of the IPC.

However, the opposition objected to Commissioner of the Guyana Forestry Com-mission (GFC), James Singh, as a nominee shortlisted to sit as a member of the IPC, with the PNCR terming his nomination “a breach of faith”.

Dr George Norton, speaking on behalf of his party, stated that the past 20 months of meetings held between committee members were undertaken to appoint persons to the IPC. He said that among the entities nominated by the Standing Committee, and which were identified as appropriate bodies for consultation on the appointment of persons as members of the commission, was the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security (MHSSS). That ministry then submitted Singh as its nominee to sit on the IPC.

Norton said that the party does not “have anything against Singh as a person”, but according to him the GFC Commissioner does not operate within the ambit of the MHSSS goals. He made reference to concerns by persons from interior locations who have had problems regarding the uplifting of their pensions and according to him, the party was told that having someone from the MHSSS would allay such fears expressed by residents from those locations.

AFC MP Sheila Holder while addressing the issue, stated that she viewed the matter, “with bad taste by the kind of politics played by the government”. She said that the IPC has been in the making for some 9 years and according to her, the party viewed Singh’s appointment to the IPC as breach of trust. “It puts him on the IPC through the back door”, she said of the government.

Holder said that during deliberations, it was agreed that the MHSSS was eligible as an agency to have a sitting member on the IPC, and she noted that it was “simply bizarre to argue that Singh years of expertise” was equivalent to those persons employed by the ministry.

She said the decision casts doubts on the experience and ability of persons employed by the agency, adding that, “it has to be noted that it is being used for the second time”, as she made reference to government spokesman Kwame McKoy being appointed as a member of the Rights of the Child Commission (ROC).

Teixeira said that the appointments are based upon provisions set out by the Constitution and she noted that the Constitutional Reform Commission made compromises on several issues. Amid heckling, Teixeira said that commissioners are expected to be fair independent and transparent.

She said that when the entities were written to by the Standing Committee, they were asked to nominate an individual and at no point, as a representative of the agency, and as such she said that the matter of breach of faith does not hold. As chairperson, Teixeira said that she could not use her position to determine who the agencies put forward as their nominee and called on the National Assembly to adopt the report.

The IPC is one of four rights commissions established in accordance with the Constitution of Guyana, with its primary functions being to promote and protect the rights of indigenous people, raise awareness of their contributions, and the problems they face as well as to make recommendations on economic and education policies to advance the interest of the indigenous people, among others.

The other persons nominated to sit on the IPC are, PPP/C MP Norman Whittaker, David James, Matilda Saigo, Patricia Singh, George Simon, Captain Gerald Gouveia, Damian Fernandes, Father Malcolm Rodrigues and Toshaos Yvonne Pearson, Marco J De Souza and Doreen Jacobis.

Source: Stabroek News

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Peace and Dignity Run Begins in Borikén

Borikén/Puerto Rico (UCTP Taino News) – The Borikén 2010 Peace and Dignity Run began on the 17th of July with the sounding of many guamo (conch shell horns) at sunrise in the Yunke Rainforest. A spiritual event, the run is being undertaken to raise awareness about the condition of indigenous scared sites on the island as well as connect native Taino islanders with their mainland relations. At the special opening ceremony, runners received the blessing of elders and other community members as they began an historic journey that would take them to sacred sites all around the island.

See full story at UCTP Taino News:

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Guyana indigenous demand say over land

(Reuters) - Guyana's indigenous people are agitating for more land rights as the World Bank prepares to spend hundreds of millions to help nations benefit from a U.N. program to help slow deforestation.

The World Bank has granted Guyana $200,000 to help refine its proposal to reduce emissions from deforestation. But Amerindian leaders insist the government's proposals do not address its international obligations to indigenous people.

"We have urged governments and international agencies to protect our traditional practices and help resolve outstanding land issues," Tony James, president of the Guyana's Amerindian Peoples Association (APA) said at a World Bank meeting.

Guyana, a former British colony perched next to Venezuela, is about 80 percent covered with forests and has one of the most varied biodiversities in the world. Amerindian communities make up about 10 percent of the population.

Indigenous leaders accuse the government of snatching their traditional lands through poor demarcation, saying in some areas, communities were demarcated without their knowledge.

The Amerindian Act of 2006 gives Amerindian villages legal powers to manage and conserve their lands.

"Some community lands are being sliced by half, some by quarter, some by three-quarters," said John Adries, the leader in the Parima community, inhabited by 600 Arekuna people.

Guyana's government is seeking international partnerships for incentives to keep alive 15 million hectares of untouched forest. Amerindian communities have been told they can opt into the initiative or choose not to be part of it.

Amerindian communities have in the past been sharoly critical Guyana's low carbon strateggy, a forest saving deal with Norway that could give the country US$250 million over the next five years.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Small Grants Programme under the Second Decade

Applications for grants under the Small Grants Programme under the Second Decade will be accepted between 1 July 2010 and 1 October 2010

Applications for grants under the Small Grants Programme under the Second Decade will be accepted between 1 July 2010 and 1 October 2010. Applications are to be submitted to: during this time period. Applications submitted outside of this time period or to other email addresses will not be considered for funding. The proposals will be assessed by the Bureau of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in May 2011 and successful applicants will receive notice thereafter. A list of organizations awarded grants will also be posted on this website.

Please note:
- Project must have a focus on indigenous peoples
- All applicants must submit their project proposals in accordance with the Trust Fund
Project Proposal Format and include both a summary sheet and a proposal document
- Projects will be disregarded if the required information is not present.
- Additional information pertaining to the proposal will not be accepted beyond the deadline of submission (1 October 2011)

Please visit our webpage to obtain updated grant information and application


Las solicitudes para subvenciones del Programa de Pequeñas Donaciones dentro del marco del Segundo Decenio Fondo Fiduciario para el Segundo Decenio serán aceptadas entre el 1 de julio y el 1 de octubre del 2010.

Las solicitudes deben ser enviadas a: durante este plazo. Las solicitudes recibidas fuera de este plazo o enviadas a otras direcciones de email no serán consideradas. Las solicitudes serán evaluadas en mayo del 2011 y los candidatos exitosos serán notificados después de esta fecha. La lista de las organizaciones que reciban subsidios estará disponible en esta página web.

Por favor tomar en consideración:
- El proyecto debe tener un enfoque sobre pueblos indígenas
- Todos los candidatos deben someter sus propuestas de proyecto de acuerdo con
el formato de Propuesta del Proyecto y adjuntar la hoja resumen y el documento
de propuesta.
- Los proyectos que no tengan la información requerida no serán considerados.
- Información adicional relacionada con la propuesta no será aceptada una vez
vencido el plazo de presentación (1 de octubre de 2010).

Visite por favor esta página web para obtener información y materiales actualizados sobre las solicitudes:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Wai Wais get $16M contract to repair Umana Yana

GUYANA - Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr Frank Anthony on Wednesday signed a $16M contract which was awarded to the Captain of Gunn’s Strip Paul Chekema for the rehabilitation of the Umana Yana.

The repairs are set to start July 16 and are expected to be completed within one month, a press release from the Government Information agency (GINA) said. It said too the benab will be closed to the public from July 16 to August for the duration of the works.

The Umana Yana was first built by residents of Gunn’s Strip, the most distant Wai Wai Village located in the South Rupununi in Region Nine. Their descendants have committed to continue the tradition of preserving the benab which is also a national monument. Chekema noted that holes have been found in the benab’s roof and some of the supporting beams appear to be rotten.

The funds will be used to procure troolie leaves and other materials for the repairs from St Cuthbert’s Mission. The ministry will be working with the St Cuthbert’s community to obtain the materials which will be transported to Georgetown before July 16.

Thirty persons from Gunn’s Strip are expected to work at the site. Anthony said the ministry will provide accommodation for the workers for the duration of the project. The ministry said the project will allow income to return to the community and the amount is expected to boost the economy in the mainly farming community.

According to GINA the Umana Yana was first built by Chief Elka and a team comprising more than 60 Wai Wais in 1972. The construction took 80 days and was completed at a cost of $26,000. The first meeting of the Non-Aligned Nations was held at the Umana Yana that same year.

Source: Stabroek News

Sunday, June 13, 2010

16 Amerindian communities get solar panels

GUYANA - The Ministry of Amerindian Affairs has distributed 574 solar panels to 16 Amerindian communities in regions ones, two and nine.

Liaison Officer to the Minister of Amerindian Affairs Norman Whittaker said the panels were provided through the Office of the Prime Minister under the Unserved Areas Electrification Programme. The ministry was tasked over the last year with distributing 1,000 (15-watt) solar panels to 23 communities and these 16 areas are the first beneficiaries, a press release from the Government Information Agency (GINA) said.

Some of the communities that benefited are: Four Miles and Hotoquai, Region One; Mashabo, Region Two; and Surama, Rupertee and Katoka, Region Nine. Whittaker said the remaining 476 panels are for communities in Region Nine and arrangements are being put in place to distribute them.

According to GINA the ministry also buys solar panels for communities under its Capital Programme.

Source: Stabroek News

Friday, June 4, 2010

Available now: THE VOICE OF THE TAINO PEOPLE NEWS JOURNAL, April – June 2010

The Voice of the Taíno People is the Official News Journal of the United Confederation of Taíno People (UCTP) and is distributed by the UCTP Office of International Relations and Regional Coordination. Volume 13, Issue 2, April – June 2010, All Rights Reserved ; ISSN 1553-9350. In this issue: Census 2010 Celebrates Taino Heritage in Borikén ; Taino Prepare for Sacred Run ; Caribbean Indigenous Peoples at UN Forum ; Community News Flash ; Thousands call for Nuclear Disarmament ; Announcements and Events.

Review and download this edition at the NEWS section of the UCTP Web Portal at or you can visit here:

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Some Amerindian communities tardy in accessing help – Minister tells Wiruni

GUYANA (Stabroek News) - Government will continue to support the transformation of the economies in Amerindian communities but slow responses from areas like Wiruni have been affecting increased development.

According to the Government Information Agency (GINA), Minister of Amerindian Affairs Pauline Sukhai, during a recent Cabinet outreach to the community of Wiruni in Region Ten, stated that the Amerindian Affairs Ministry has been engaging residents but slothfulness in several areas such as the non-submission of Community Development Plans (CDP) by some communities has been affecting development.

According to GINA, the creation of CDPs are essential to the development of village communities as they outline key developmental projects and Minister Sukhai indicated that to aid the process the agency created and distributed templates of a CDP to communities.

She said that the late submissions are causing setbacks leading to a call for village management to be upgraded. She added that the President had given one month for the development plan to be on stream and according to GINA some $5M will be distributed to each community for financing of the plan. The Minister stated that the funds derived from an initiative of the government to commit state forests even though Amerindians have not yet committed their forested area.

Minister Sukhai also stated that some communities have been late in uplifting their presidential grants which in turn leads to slow development with Wiruni highlighted as one community which is yet to uplift its grant for 2009. She also stated that some villages have weaknesses as regards governance but government was committed to working with such areas.

Residents at Wiruni raised several concerns with the team, including the establishment of a secondary school for the area as well as the non-distribution of National Identification cards by the Elections Commission.

GINA stated that the visit by Sukhai and a team, included Liaison Officer Norman Whittaker and Region Ten Regional Executive Officer Devon Bremner. The purpose of the visit was to have an interactive forum with residents of the community, including its Toshao Rohan Fredericks. Minister Sukhai stated that most projects highlighted in this year’s National Budget are in progress and at the same time Cabinet members are visiting communities to establish whether citizens are satisfied with service provided.

She said President Bharrat Jagdeo has demonstrated the administration’s commitment to the Amerindian people by donating his financial reward of US$40,000 from his Champion of the Earth award towards Amerindian development.

GINA stated that the promotion of food security and transformation of village economies are being encouraged by the administration and the government is encouraging Amerindians to engage in sustainable farming practices.

Source: Stabroek News

Monday, May 24, 2010

President commits $25M for St Cuthbert’s Mission road

GUYANA - President Bharrat Jagdeo has committed $25M to building a road from the Linden Highway to St Cuthbert’s Mission to facilitate easier transporting of goods to the coast.

According to a Government Information Agency (GINA) press release the President made this proposal to residents on his second visit to the Mission located 50 miles up the Mahaica River. Residents greeted the proposal with loud cheers and suggested that the same method used to pave the access road to Laluni could be used.

“You need quick and reliable means of transporting your goods from here into the marketplace which is the coast and Georgetown,” Jagdeo said and suggested that a meeting be convened with the council, the villagers and the Ministry of Public Works to assess the available options. GINA said the president’s team including Amerindian Affairs, Education and Health ministers Pauline Sukhai, Shaik Baksh and Dr Bheri Ramsaran met with residents at the St Cuthbert’s Mission Primary School.

Source: Stabroek News

Friday, April 23, 2010

First Week of UN Indigenous Forum Ends

United Nations, NY (UCTP Taino News) – The Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, a UN body mandated to discuss indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health and human rights ended its first week of work today. Government representatives, UN agencies, and indigenous representatives from around the world presented reports and statements on key areas of concern.

See full story at UCTP Taino News

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

APA urges donors to ensure indigenous rights upheld when they finance forest conservation

GUYANA - Worried about unresolved land titling and a lack of meaningful participation in decision-making, the Amerindian Peoples Association (APA) has urged donors to ensure that indigenous peoples’ guaranteed rights are fully upheld in all forest conservation activities they finance here.

As a result, the APA and some community leaders are calling for an urgent review and amendment of the current Amerindian Act to strengthen land rights as well as the creation of safeguards to ensure that opt-in/opt-out procedures under the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) comply with principles of free, prior, and informed consent. Additionally, they recommended the establishment of an independent Amerindian advisory group to complement the LCDS multi-stakeholder committee and a working group to address the application of international standards in the process.

In a March 10, 2010 letter to Turid Johansen Arnegaard, Senior Advisor for Indigenous Peoples Issues in the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, the APA and the community leaders said that the recommendations follow concerns about the lack of an adequate legal framework to protect the rights of the indigenous peoples, including what it described as the absence of meaningful participation in the decision-making on the LCDS/REDD+. “These concerns are crucially important to the sustainability of LCDS/REDD+ but have yet to be adequately addressed,” the APA said, noting that while it fully supports culturally appropriate sustainable development and reducing carbon emissions, the initiatives should not be done at the expense of indigenous peoples’ rights.

The letter has been the source of a recent row between the APA and other indigenous groups over the LCDS. The government has maintained that the LCDS and REDD+ processes have demonstrated openness, transparency, accountability, availability of information and public participation. Further, it has said that from the onset, the LCDS sensitisation education and consultation process was designed and implemented in accordance with international best practice. An independent international NGO, the London-based International Institute for Environmental Development (IIED), provided monitoring of the entire stakeholder engagement process of the LCDS and concluded that the “the LCDS has established the principle of FPIC as the standard for Amerindian communities.”

In the letter, the APA noted that protecting the country’s forests are in the interest of the nation and the world, and it endorsed the idea that the people should benefit from any payments that may be made to protect Guyana’s forests. However, it said a significant percentage of the forest is owned by indigenous peoples, both by virtue of titles issued by the state as well as traditional ownership recognised by international law.

The group’s primary concern is the adequacy of the existing legal framework for the protection of indigenous peoples’ rights here, and particularly in the area of regularisation and protection of their rights to own and control their traditional lands, territories and resources. “While Guyana often talks about the number of villages that hold title, the percentage of Guyana covered by these titles, and the need to complete its process of demarcation, these statements neither dispose of this issue,” it said, adding that the process for titling lands falls short of international obligations. “At present, Guyana’s land titling process is simply an exercise in unilateral and unfettered rule by the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs that has little to do with satisfying indigenous peoples’ rights,” the APA argued. It said too that rights of appeal are limited by the absence of enumerated rights and indigenous peoples are left with little option other than to accept the Ministry’s decision.

The APA pointed out that the MOU and the government’s submissions to the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) frame indigenous peoples’ rights solely in the context of Guyana’s existing legislative and constitutional framework. It added that while the underlying assumption appeared to be that the extant legal framework is adequate, both in terms of its recognition and protection of indigenous peoples’ rights, the 2006 Amerindian Act and other important elements of the country’s constitutional framework have been found wanting by the World Bank and the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD).

According to the findings of a 2008 World Bank study, ’The Role of Indigenous Peoples in Biodiversity Conservation,’ the country’s legislation to protect indigenous peoples is “weak.” The Bank also said it was unable to change the framework in place to have adequate recognition of indigenous rights. Its findings were related to the failure of the World Bank/GEF Guyana/National Protected Areas System Project. Meanwhile, two years prior to this, CERD had found that many of the Amerindian Act’s provisions were incompatible with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Among CERD’s findings was the lack of legal recognition of the rights of ownership and possession of indigenous communities over lands they traditionally occupied. In addition, it was also concerned about the state’s practice of granting land titles excluding bodies of waters and subsoil resources to indigenous communities on the basis of unfair criteria. By virtue of Article 154A of the constitution, Guyana is bound to observe the provisions of the convention as part of its international obligations, but the APA said the country has been in breach for four years. “At the very least, these findings call into question key assumptions in the FCPF submissions and the MOU that should provoke… a serious examination of these issues by independent and qualified experts with the full participation of indigenous peoples’ freely chosen representatives,” the APA said. In particular, it argued that the Amerindian Act, in the areas of the regularisation of indigenous peoples’ lands and other issues, must be amended to ensure consistency with Guyana’s international human rights obligations as a prior condition to any financing of further LCDS/REDD+ activities.

Further, the APA said there is also an urgent need to carry out an impartial review of all land titling decisions made to date. The review, it explained, must include an assessment of the extent to which said decisions may or may not be compatible with indigenous peoples’ rights in international law.

Meanwhile, the APA also argued that there has not been adequate participation by the indigenous people in decision-making. It explained that while the process for discussing the LCDS/REDD+ was lauded by the government and others, it has not adequately informed the indigenous people or secured their participation in decision-making. “This does not bode well for the long-term sustainability and effectiveness of the LCDS/REDD+ in Guyana and is contrary to the rights of indigenous peoples,” it said. “The right to participate is triggered at the very earliest stages of the project not after the parameters have been unilaterally predetermined by the State,” it added.

The APA said recent official outreach efforts on the LCDS did not meet the required standards for good faith public consultation, noting that meetings were rushed, documents were not supplied with sufficient time prior, and absent or weak translation support. On the latter point, it noted that local Amerindian translators did not receive prior training in technical climate change and REDD+ terms.

The APA was also critical of the government’s “undue reliance” on only one organisation − the National Toshaos Council − in the discussions. It said the government did not ensure that the council was the organisation legitimately identified by the indigenous peoples as their representative on the issues, as required by international law. While the council is an important statutory body, the APA explained, the views of its executive members must not be substituted for the freely expressed views of indigenous peoples in Guyana.

Source: Stabroek News

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Amerindian communities likely to get up to $7M extra for development

GUYANA - President Bharrat Jagdeo told Toshaos from various sub-districts in the Rupununi that this year each community is likely to receive up to $7 million for development in addition to the annual Presidential Grant.

According to the Government Information Agency (GINA), the president said the sums ranging from $5 million to $7 million will be used to promote food security and profit-making ventures.

He said with funds expected from the implementation of the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), he had decided to set aside about US$5M (equivalent to G$1B) in addition for Amerindian communities’ development.

As regard food security, Jagdeo stressed the importance of better drainage and irrigation systems, which he said will boost agriculture productivity and diversify the range of products grown. Guyana is expected to be able to expand access to services and provide new economic opportunities for Amerindian communities within the framework of the LCDS.

“The draft LCDS document states that transforming Guyana’s economy will require among other things, striking a balance between using forest payments to enhance the opportunities for those who live in the forest and recognising the rights of other Guyanese citizens, including the urban poor,” GINA said.

In June 2009 the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs partnered with Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) to launch the National Secure Livelihood Programme (NSLP) which sought to address the challenges hampering economic development in the Amerindian villages and hinterland communities through the creation of employment opportunities, sustaining food security, income generation, wealth creation, economic diversification and secure livelihoods. Six VSO Specialists were employed to spur economic development in Region One, focusing on agriculture, aquaculture, pest management, food technology, business, development, marketing and finance and organisational development.

According to GINA, the Presidential Grant was established in 2007 with $150M allocated for meeting the social and economic needs of 140 communities. The Grant was also offered in 2008 but last year 20 additional communities became eligible for grants and as a result $160M was allocated.

Source: Stabroek News

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Toshaos, village councillors picket APA’s LCDS workshop

APA demands respect for learning process

GUYANA - Toshaos and councillors from various Amerindian communities picketed an Amerindian Peoples Association (APA) workshop yesterday, accusing the NGO of trying to put a hold on projects that would bring benefit Amerindian communities.

The picket of the workshop at the Regency Suites, on Brickdam was the latest salvo in a row over the scope of consultations on the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) in indigenous communities, and the demand for the resolution of land issues before movement on projects related to the LCDS and REDD+.

Yvonne Pearson, Chairperson of the National Toshaos Council (NTC), said that the protest was intended to show opposition to recent public statements being made by the organisation.

Displaying placards, the picketers stood across the road from the hotel yesterday and APA member Norma Thomas accused the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs of rounding up persons from the hostel and bringing them to protest.

In a press statement issued later, the APA said it was disappointed at the protest, calling it an attempt “to stifle its knowledge building for APA’s members and other leaders, which constitutes a violation of our freedom of assembly.”

It also charged that Toshaos participating at its workshop recognised some of the picketers as recently discharged patients and some did not know why they were in the picket line.

When some persons were asked to explain their placards, they could not do so, it contended.

Following a recent conference organised by the APA, some indigenous leaders had said that LCDS outreach activities done last year lacked prior information, were often rushed and suffered from weak or non-existent translation support for communities.

They also urged government and international agencies to put a hold on the implementation of policies related to projects like the LCDS and REDD+, until land rights issues are settled and asked that the principle of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) be respected. The statement by the indigenous leaders at the recent APA workshop triggered a strong response by government and Minister of Amerindian Affairs Pauline Sukhai accused the APA of communicating “misconceptions and half-truths.”

The five-day workshop on “Indigenous Peoples Rights, Climate Change and the LCDS/REDD” is for participants from regions 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9, and the main focus is on providing simplified information on climate change, REDD, the Low Carbon Development Strategy and related topics.

“The aim is for participants to develop a better understanding of all that is involved in what are very complex issues surrounding climate change, its impacts on indigenous communities and the pros and cons of mitigation and adaptation strategies,” the APA said. “The organisation decided to hold this workshop to fill the information gap that exists among its membership and other community representatives who have indicated on numerous occasions that they have been thrust in to positions where they have been asked to make decisions on these matters, without fully understanding the scope or nature of these initiatives,” it added.

The APA said it respected the rights of the picketers and demanded that its right to educate those willing to learn through its programmes be respected. It quoted workshop participants as saying, “We would like the public to understand that our main reason for participating in the workshop is to educate ourselves so that we can go back to our communities and tell our people what we have learnt-we are in a learning process.”

Pearson, however, said the organisation cannot make decisions for Amerindians and accused it of trying to put a hold on projects and policies which would bring benefit to Amerindians. Pearson was referring to a letter reportedly sent to the Norwegian government by the APA trying to get them to rethink their position on LCDS.

She added that Amerindians want development and fully support the LCDS. This support, she said, was shown by the Toshaos, village councillors and supporters present outside the hotel who on their own initiative decided to hold the exercise.

Pearson added that the LCDS will help Amerindians achieve their goals of forest preservation and lower pollution rates. The APA, she said was invited to be part of the consultations, where they could have raised their objections, but refused to do so citing prior commitments. During the protest, APA President Tony James extended an invite to the picketers to join the organisation’s workshop but Pearson told him it was too late notice since they had prior workshop commitments.

Minster Sukhai, who said she was present to lend her support, noted that the APA had indicated that it did not wish to be part of the stakeholder committee, since it had other commitments.

Querying its availability, she wondered whether the organisation is an individual, and why it could not find other members to attend the consultations.

Sukhai also said the APA had written to the Norway Aid agency pinpointing their objections to the agreement and asking them to review the MOU they have with the government. The picket, she said, was spearheaded by the NTC with Toshaos representing regions 1, 3, 4, 7, 9 and 10 present.

While the MOU may not offer much financially, it brings opportunities to address concerns of Amerindians including the demarcation, application and extension of lands, Sukhai said.

Peter Persaud, President of TAAMOG said that his organisation is in support of the LCDS and lashed out at the APA for what he considered a campaign to block the funding and to frustrate Amerindian development. Ronald Samuels, Toshao of Santa Aratak, in Region 3 said that he was there because he was disturbed by the allegations of the APA that they represent the interest of Amerindians when their stance is affecting the development of Amerindians.

Author: Candace Phillips
Source: Stabroek News

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: Central America Women's Leadership Fellowship in Seattle, Washington, USA

  • Are you a community leader from Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras or Guatemala?
  • Are you interested in deepening your leadership skills and expanding your understanding of how to create sustainable social change?
  • Are you available in September 2010 to travel to the United States, to the City of Seattle, to participate in a unique 3 month intensive training program?
  • Are you a woman?

If you answered 'yes' to all of these questions, then you are strongly encouraged to apply for this terrific opportunity!

The Central America Women's Leadership Fellowship Program (CAWL) is a partnership between iLEAP: The Center for Critical Service and the Seattle International Foundation. iLEAP is now accepting applications for participation in a three-month intensive training in leadership and social innovation for up to FIVE (5) Central American, female, community leaders. The leadership training will take place in Seattle, Washington from September 13, 2010 to November 20, 2010. All expenses are covered. English fluency is not required-more important are conversational skills and the strong willingness to communicate with others.

Application deadline is May 1, 2010. Completed applications must be emailed to You may get an application by sending an email inquiry to

For questions about the iLEAP CAWL program, please email

Program Overview:

  • Program Administrator: iLEAP: The Center for Critical Service (
  • Location: Seattle, Washington, USA
  • Dates of Fellowship: Monday, September 13th, 2010 to Sunday, November 20th, 2010.
  • Length of Fellowship: 10 weeks
  • Number of Fellowships: up to five (5)
  • Cost: None to Fellows, this is a Full Fellowship--All costs associated with program participation are covered (airfare, visa/immigration, lodging and food in Seattle, health insurance, living stipend, books/supplies, study tours, etc.)

Application Eligibility Guidelines:

  • Demonstrated long term commitment to the community or the population with whom you are working
  • Central American citizenship: Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua
  • Female
  • 25 years and older
  • In a current leadership position and able to articulate the need for this fellowship opportunity as well as their ability to be away from their family and organization for the complete duration of the fellowship.
  • Approval from their organization's board may be necessary.
  • Conversant in English
  • Junior leadership may be preferable in some cases.
  • English Language: As necessary, English communication classes will be incorporated into the curriculum. Fellows may expect to take English classes for up to 2-3 hours daily, three times a week.

Program Details:

  • Program Intent: To strengthen and expand the leadership capacities of female social change leaders in Central America and forge and deepen relationships between program participants and the global development sector in Washington state.
  • Program Themes: The program is organized around the central themes of:
  • Social Innovation and Enterprise
  • Collaborative Leadership
  • Digital Literacy
  • Social and Environmental Sustainability
  • Curriculum Structure: Program participants explore these themes through three modes of learning: skills-based seminars, field application and experiential learning, and social networking and partnership building.
  1. Skills-Based Seminars: Each week, Fellows engage in seminar courses led by experts in the four central themes of the program and designed around the Fellows' interests. These range in length from 90 minutes to multi-day and occur 2 to 4 times each week. Of the dozens of seminars that Fellows take, topics can include: principles of social innovation, group dialogue and facilitation, building a movement, modes of leadership, trends in philanthropy and giving, using social media for strategic communication, digital storytelling, etc.
  2. Field Application and Experiential Learning: Each week, Fellows work in a professional placement with a Seattle-based social enterprise, institution, agency or organization working in a field relevant to the Fellow's interest. Fellows also participate in regular public speaking opportunities. These include guest speaking in collegiate courses and events, radio and television spots, and also participating in panels and/or keynotes to the greater Seattle community.
  3. Social Networking and Partnership Building: Each week, Fellows go on site visits to local organizations and businesses. Over the course of the program Fellows visit dozens and dozens of places and meet with leadership to share ideas and learn. Past visits have included: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, World Vision, Northwest Center, Herbfarm, Farm Tour of King County, Microsoft, Farestart, Washington Cash, Goodwill, et al. Each Fellow becomes familiar with various social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as learns how to write weblogs and use the internet for strategic communications.

After program completion, Fellows become a part of iLEAP's International Faculty. This distinction allows them to receive and host international visitors through iLEAP's Taking the LEAP program and also entitles them to a life-long partnership with iLEAP.

This program overlaps with the 'standard' iLEAP International Fellowship-with participants from Asia and Africa-so Fellows from Central America will also have the opportunity to learn from these experienced leaders.

Program Logistics:

  • Airfare: Logistics will be arranged by iLEAP's travel agent, full cost covered.
  • Visa/Immigration: Upon acceptance, Fellows will be guided through the J1 trainee application process by iLEAP.
  • Health Insurance: All Fellows will receive basic health coverage during their stay in the United States.
  • Transportation: All public transportation fees are covered.
  • Stipend: Fellows are provided $100/week
  • Books/Supplies/Mobile Phone: All books and supplies directly relevant to the training will be provided to the Fellow. Each Fellow will be provided with a pre-paid mobile phone and a monthly allotment.
  • Lodging/Accommodations: Fellows will be placed in a homestay with an American family. These families will provide the Fellow with room and board.


  • Open Application Period Present - May 1, 2010
  • Application Deadline May 1, 2010
  • Application Review and Notifications May 2010
  • For Successful Candidates:
    • Initial screening interview with iLEAP staff May 2010
    • Visa application and interview with 3rd party representative June 2010
    • Schedule/complete immigration interview w/Embassy June-July 2010
    • Upon receipt of J1 visa, book plane ticket to Seattle July-August 2010
    • Fellows arrive in Seattle Week of September 13, 2010

International Fellowship Program Application 2010 CAWL.