Monday, March 11, 2013

We do not have an equal place in T&T

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO - ANY reform of the Constitution must include the recognition of the status of indigenous peoples, said Chief of the Santa Rosa First Peoples Community, Ricardo Bharath-Hernandez. 

He was one of the attendees at the third meeting of the National Consultation on Constitutional Reform on Saturday evening at the Arima Town Hall. 

Bharath-Hernandez noted that the United Nations has adopted the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, in September 2007. He said, locally, they have begun to see some form of recognition for the first time. 

He pointed out that while the National Anthem of Trinidad and Tobago says "every creed and race finds an equal place", he did not feel the indigenous peoples had an equal place. 

Bharath-Hernandez recalled that he served as People's National Movement councillor and deputy mayor for 18 years and had lobbied unsuccessfully for indigenous people. 

He pointed out in 1982 when Canada had their Constitutional reform they recognised the rights of the aboriginal peoples (Indian, Inuit and Métis). He predicted that his lobbying efforts locally would have been more successful if indigenous peoples were included in the Constitution. 

Another attendee noted that late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez was being praised for championing the rights of indigenous peoples in his country. He noted that indigenous people have long been marginalised and they needed to be included in this country's reformed Constitution. 

Legal Affairs Minister Prakash Ramadhar, in his remarks, noted that Constitutional reform has plagued this country for many years. He noted that the People's Partnership Government came into office with the promise of Constitutional reform in a number of areas and the consultation was a fulfillment of that promise. 

He said for many years people have complained that the only time they get to exercise their democracy is on election day. 

"We believe the people of Trinidad and Tobago should say what kind of Constitution they want. That is why we didn't put a Draft Constitution, put it out for comment, put it out for consultation. We believe from the voices of the people we will have the will to come up with a Constitution...that is really a contract between the people and those given the authority to govern," he said. 

A total of 17 consultations are to be held from March 4 to May 4 at 14 locations in Trinidad and three in Tobago. 

The next consultation will be at the Sangre Grande Civic Centre.   

Author:Julien Neaves 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Local Boriken Taíno Leader, Jose Xuerix Guaynia Camacho Passes into Koaibei

Boriken (UCTP Taino News) - Respected singer and Boriken (Puerto Rico) tribal community leader of “Tainos Ciba-Ro Turey,” Jose R. “Xuerix Guaynia” Camacho Garcia closed his eyes and passed on to Koaibei (the Spirit World) after a long battle with cancer on Thursday.  
Xuerix Camacho was a renowned “Doo Wop” crooner for "The Sentimentals," a Boriken-based 1960's singing group, popular for their renditions of romantic ballads and vocal harmonies. His artistic experience and natural leadership abilities led him to advocate for indigenous justice on the Island over the past 25 years.  Xuerix participated in "El Grito de Kaguana", the 2005 community action that saw local Taíno leaders take over the Caguana Indigenous Ceremonial Center to highlight the desecration of sacred sites in Boriken.
Xuerix also gained political notoriety confronting Senator Fonte on local television; when he questioned the elected official’s political support for zoning variances along San Juan oceanfront. The variances later proved to be disastrous to the environment, leading to Senator Fonte’s indictment and subsequent incarceration for numerous illegal political practices.
A proud supporter and registered member of the United Confederation of Taíno People (UCTP), Xuerix was often seen leading protest marches and participating in Taíno community gatherings, as well as educational awareness activities around the island.  Xuerix Guaynia Camacho founded "Tainos Ciba-Ro Turey" to honor his Boriken Taíno ancestors. 
He is survived by his beloved Mother, Margarita Garcia Rosado, and long-time companion, Moraika Sánchez
Arrangements are being made for his viewing at Ehret Funeral Hall in Cupey
UCTP Taíno News 03.08.2013

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Police mercilessly beat several including woman, child in Marudi mountain

GUYANA - Several policemen were Sunday in hot water in connection with the brutal beating of several persons including a woman and her young child on a trail to the gold bearing area of Marudi, Southern Rupununi.

At least two men and the woman and her child were taken to Aishalton Hospital for treatment, according to Vice President of the Amerindian Peoples Association (APA), Tony James.

Telephone contact with that remote interior area is virtually impossible. Demerara Waves Online News ( was told that officials were meeting with residents at Aishalton to discuss the incident.

Police Commissioner, Leroy Brummel said the Divisional Commander has been instructed to carry out a thorough probe. Policemen senior to those allegedly involved in the incident are conducting the investigation after which the policemen who were on the operation would be brought out to Georgetown and possibly placed on close arrest.

“It doesn’t look good. From what I am hearing, one of the child’s feet might have been broken,” Brummel told Demerara Waves Online News ( The video, which was apparently secretly recorded, can be seen here.

The persons, who were engaged in the physical encounter with the police, were alllegedly blocking the trail to prevent  Mines Officers from the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) and police from continuing "Operation El Dorado" to rid the area of illegal miners.

The APA official explained that the area was previously assigned to Vanessa Mines and now Romanex for several decades but little or no work was being done and the concession was left virtually idle.

Eventually, according to the former Toshao, coastlanders entered the area with excavators and other types of equipment to mine for the precious yellow metal.

James said that from what he has observed the area is a free-for-all and there is no monitoring of people entering the Amerindian settlement.

Well-placed sources said President Donald Ramotar's recent visit to the area where he promised to allocate a number of the illegal miners concessions might have exacerbated the situation.

Though the sources were sympathetic with the level of brutality meted out to the the persons, the officials noted that the miners were engaged in widespread illegal activities by mining gold and smuggling it to neighbouring Brazil rather than selling it to the government and paying the required taxes.

Author: Denis Scott Chabrol   

See video at: