Guyana preps response to UN over mining on titled lands

Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett

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.

Comments  

Nandlall accuses Chronicle of libelling Clifton Bacchus, damaging his business

Clifton Bacchus demonstrating how one of the slot machines work. (SN file photo) Anil Nandlall, attorney for Clifton Bacchus today accused the state-owned Guyana Chronicle of libeling the hotelier and damaging his business in a news report that appeared in its edition today.

Sublime Root, Cook tons put England in command v Windies

Joe Root hit his 13th centuryfeatured   BIRMINGHAM, England, (Reuters) – England’s Joe Root and Alastair Cook crafted superb centuries to lead the hosts to a commanding 348 for three on the opening day of their first day-night test against West Indies today.

Van ploughs through crowd in Barcelona, killing 13

A police officer helps evacuate people after a van crashed into pedestrians near the Las Ramblas avenue in central Barcelona, Spain August 17, 2017.

Sophia pillion rider dies in bike incident, husband questioned

A post-mortem examination is expected to be performed on the body of housewife Janice Edwards, 38, of 121 ‘C’ Field, Sophia, ECD, to determine the cause of her death.

China Railway gets major T&T road project

A sketch of the proposed Curepe Interchange (Trinidad Guardian) China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) has been awarded a $221.7 million contract by the National infrastructure Development Company (Nidco) to build the controversial Curepe Interchange, the state company’s chairman Herbert George has confirmed.

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly.

We built stabroeknews.com using new technology. This makes our website faster, more feature rich and easier to use for 95% of our readers.
Unfortunately, your browser does not support some of these technologies. Click the button below and choose a modern browser to receive our intended user experience.

Update my browser now

×