I came across a letter in the Stabroek News written by a Mr Ally where he mentions that the government is doing so much for Amerindians in this country. He claims they are being treated as first-class citizens. I wonder if some of those who write all these things have ever lived in an Amerindian village. During the twenty-eight years of PNC rule which the government always speaks about, which one of them fought for Amerindian rights in Guyana? It was Mr Stephen Campbell who did that.
Amerindians in the old days received a better standard of education under the churches. What Mr Ally is telling us is that it is only 19 years ago that we Amerindians started to receive proper education under four PPP/C presidents – nonsense! In Region One we had doctors, lawyers, police officers to the rank of ASP, accountants and nurses. Some of these nurses from the old school are working abroad in England and America. Amerindians had education before the PPP/C ever dreamt of being in power.
Mr Ally should visit places such as Baramita in Region One which has a population of well over two thousand but where many children of school age are not attending school in communities like Eyelash, Five Star and a few others. Baramita has one policeman in an unfinished station. The nearest schools to Eyelash are Arakaka and Matthews Ridge, which is about two hours drive away.
In earlier days we were taking GCE in the region with fine results including in English. Mr Ally should be writing about what the government is doing for those on the coast to protect them from crime on the street and in their homes, and he should have allowed we Amerindians to speak for ourselves since he says we have become educated now. We live here and we know what it is to be living in this environment.
Not all of our Amerindian brothers and sisters are treated with the same affection. Places such as Barabina, Hosororo, Mabaruma settlements, Bumbury and Barimanobo have not been privileged to receive solar panels. Places which have enjoyed that privilege are Yarakita, Four Miles, Port Kaituma, Canal Bank, and to an extent, Sei-Bai Whitewater, and some places in the riverine area.
I wonder if Mr Ally knows that the standard of education has dropped significantly in this Amerindian region as evidenced by the National Assessments, and the Ministry of Education wants to know why.
Whenever our less educated Amerindian brothers and sisters go out of the region seeking employment, they are not treated well by some of their employers, being paid late or given short payment, working long hours and being sexually abused. Some are abused and then accused of stealing.
The only group of Amerindians who are really enjoying things are the Captains and CDC chairmen, and when they go out to conferences, some of them do not tell their communities much about what transpired. Captains are treated better and paid more than the Regional Councillors, who have more power and responsibility. Perhaps this what Mr Ally was writing about.