The Ministry of Natural Resources is willing to comply with requests to amend the laws of the agencies which are under its purview, if the Amerindian Act is to be revised.
Natural Resources Minister, Raphael Trotman gave this assurance to the indigenous leaders at Day Three of the National Toshaos Council (NTC) Meeting on Wednesday.
Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman speaking at the National Toshaos Council Meeting
The commitment from Minister Trotman came in answer to concerns raised by Vice Chairman of the NTC, Lennox Shuman. “The Amerindian Act cannot be an act of strength without examining the Forestry Act, the Mines Act and the Protected Areas Act,” Shuman told the Minister.
The revision of the Amerindian Act is one of the areas on the agenda of the NTC Meeting which is being held at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre (ACCC) from August 22-27, 2016.
The government has said it was willing to facilitate the revision of the 2006 Amerindian Act following calls by the indigenous people. “We have no difficulty at the Ministry of Natural Resources in playing our part in doing what needs to be done and what is necessary,” Minister Trotman said.
The Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs began consultation towards the revision of the Act, in June, in hinterland communities. A legal expert has also been consulted for advice on proceeding with the proposed amendments.
The role of the Ministry of Natural Resources is vital to these amendments since the Indigenous people have called for a review of mining practices under the Act, and for more oversight control of mining in Indigenous villages and communities.
Agencies which are under the purview of the Ministry of Natural Resources are the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), the Guyana Forestry (GFC) and the Guyana Gold Board (GGB).
The Protected Areas Commission (PAC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are under the purview of the Ministry of the Presidency.
In June, Minister of Indigenous People’s Affairs, Sydney Allicock had told the Government Information Agency (GINA) that the revision will also focus on Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), and many of the land issues raised by indigenous people.