Guyana preps response to UN over mining on titled lands

By next week, Guyana should submit a report to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (UNCERD) regarding mining on titled land in the Amerindian communities of Isseneru and Kako, Minister of Foreign Affairs Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett has said.

“We have the draft already,” the minister told Stabroek News on Wednesday. “We would be submitting next week.” She said that a number of agencies had to be involved in preparing the report, hence the time it took.

Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett
Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett

UNCERD had expressed concern in March over mining on titled land at Isseneru and Kako and had asked government to provide information on the cases as well as to review the granting of permits and concessions without obtaining the prior and informed consent of the affected indigenous communities. UNCERD had considered the situation of the two Region Seven (Cuyuni/ Mazaruni) communities during its 82nd Session, following information received from non-governmental organisations, the Amerindian People’s Association and the Forest Peoples Programme.

A High Court decision in January sparked protests by Isseneru villagers as well as indigenous groups and some Amerindian leaders after the ruling upheld a miner’s right to continue with operations on titled lands within Isseneru. In the case of Kako, the court issued an order restraining the village council from preventing the passage of a water dredge and other mining equipment across the Kako River, which residents had done as they feared pollution of the pristine river.

Attorney-General Anil Nandlall has said that government is not considering an amendment to the Amerindian Act at this stage as this would be premature since the parties involved have indicated an intention to appeal the decision. Kako villagers continue to oppose any mining upriver as the Kako River is their only source of water for drinking and other domestic use as well as fishing.

In March, in a plea for the safeguarding of their only water source, Kako villagers called for the immediate suspension of mining on the Kako River as well as a banning of future operations upstream from the village during a tense meeting with a government team.

The government team later reported that a working group had been formed to examine the situation, which is one of a number that have pitted Amerindian communities against miners recently.

The team at the March 19 meeting had said that it would report back to the community in a month’s time but this has not been done. Chief Executive Officer of the Indigenous Peoples Commis-sion Autry Haynes, who was part of the government team, when contacted on Wednesday said that he could not comment on the matter as he was having a discussion.

UNCERD, it its’ letter to Guyana’s permanent representative to the UN George Talbot, had said that the committee would be grateful to receive information on all the issues and concerns outlined, before July 31, 2013.

More in Local News

default placeholder

Caribbean series hopes to crack US market with T20 foray

(Reuters) – Chris Gayle and Shane Watson need no introductions in cricket-playing countries but while they are unlikely to become household names in the U.S.

Renee McDonald

Chair of Bid Protest Committee resigns

Chairperson of the recently-established Bid Protest Committee (BPC) Renee McDonald has resigned even as the body’s first case—Cevons Waste Management’s protest against the Ministry of Communities over the award of a $221M Haags Bosch landfill maintenance contract—awaits a decision.

default placeholder

Main suspect in Black Bush triple murder held, owns shotgun

The main suspect in the Black Bush triple murder has been held and he is the owner of the same type of weapon that inflicted the deadly wounds.

Shane Mc Almont

Two charged with killing missing miner

Just two days after severed body parts suspected to belong to Mahdia miner Shawn Clarke were discovered, two men were charged in a city court with his murder.

default placeholder

Ferry collides with Supenaam stelling

The ferry,  Sabanto  suffered extensive damage after it collided with the Supenaam Stelling last evening and will be out of service until further notice.

The car, PSS 1236 after it stuck the three victims.

Three hospitalised after driver hits visiting St Lucian scouts

A visiting St. Lucian Cub Scout has been critically injured, while another and his mother escaped with minor injuries after they were struck by a car yesterday afternoon near the Scout Association of Guyana headquarters at Woolford Avenue.

Comments

About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: