Last Updated on Thursday, 4 May 2017, 19:51 by Denis Chabrol
In the face of threats by Amerindian village chiefs that their peoples will vote against the Black-dominated coalition government if a lands Commission of Inquiry is not scrapped, the African Cultural and Development Association (ACDA) has appealed for unity between the two races in addressing land rights.
“ACDA calls on the First Nation Indians in Guyana to unite with African Guyanese to bring land justice to its African Guyanese family, to resist the retelling of lies and misinformation told to them by the Opposition and to say yes to land justice for all Peoples of Guyana,” that organisation said in a statement.
ACDA urged Guyanese Indigenous Indians to break with the past in which they were used by White slave masters to help capture African slaves and return their body parts for payment.
Reasoning that such an approach was aimed at promoting division and hostility, ACDA charged that the posture by the National Toshao Council members was politically instigated by the East Indian-dominated opposition People’s Progressive Party.
“ACDA views the recent announcement of some of the First Nation Indians reactions to the formation of the COI into land as part of a sinister PPP instigated ploy to continue the slavery era European agenda to keep the two groups from uniting,” ACDA said in its statement.
The National Toshao Council, which noted that Amerindians decide the outcome of general elections, called on government to take note that the settling of land rights is catered for in the Amerindian Act and Guyana’s constitution.
ACDA said it “applauds and welcomes” the Commissiom of Inquiry which the then PPP-led government had rejected calls for in 2004 and even defeated a parliamentary motion that had been tabled by the now late Deborah Backer to “remedy the forfeiture of lands bought by our ancestors.”
Separately, in a letter ACDA Executive Member Eric Phillips denied claims by National Toshaos Council Vice Chairman, Lennox Shuman that ACDA had received lands from the Guyana Lands & Surveys Commission.
“ACDA categorically denies it has applied for lands at the Guyana Lands & Surveys or received any. This is a blatant lie for which the NTC should apologize. This lie shows the racist influence Bharrat Jagdeo and the PPP has brought to the Land Titling process as the PPP again desperately tries to divide the country racially as a strategy to win the 2020 elections so they could continue to plunder and steal our oil revenues as they have done to other assets over their 23 years in government,” said Phillips.
The ACDA official accused Opposotion Leader Bharrat Jagdeo of lying to Shuman and fuelling racial discord in the Amerindian communities. Phillips warned that it appears that Guyana is heading into another Rupununi Uprising like in 1969 when a group of Amerindians had engaged in violence against the then Forbes Burnham-led administration to secede Essequibo from the rest of Guyana.
“They did not want to be ruled by a Black government that had won Independence just 32 months ago from Britain in 1966. Now Amerindians are being told by Jagdeo to rise up against a Black government because only Jagdeo and Indians should rule Guyana,” he said.
Phillips charged that the Amerindians sinister motive is to claim an additional 10 percent over the 13.8 percent (168 communities) land space of Giyana
Phillips said such a demand is ourside the law because parliament in 1976 through The Amerindian Act legally gave 13.8 % of Guyana to nine Amerindians Tribes as reparatory justice for being the First People of Guyana. “This was considered more than fair compensation for lands lost during occupation by the Dutch and British from 1600s until Independence in 1966.”
He said consideration must be given to the role that thousands of Africans played in the development of Guyana.