Character was besmirched

Dear Editor,

I wish to respond to a letter by Noel Antone published in the Guyana Chronicle of  June 7, 2013 captioned ‘Strange happenings in South Rupununi’ in which he makes several misleading and mischievous statements about me.

Firstly I find it strange that Noel Antone says he is a resident of the South Rupununi, and chooses to use the Chronicle to express his so-called concerns about my supposed involvement in a group calling itself the Amerindian Peoples Liberation Front rather than ask me whether this is true or not.  I would like to know which village in the South Rupununi he is from so I can meet him to provide him with the facts, and I dare him to identify one person who has heard me speak on behalf of the so-called APLF or of wishing to create a state within a state.

Secondly, I find it even stranger and perhaps irresponsible that the Chronicle would publish such a letter without verifying the truth of its contents. Am I to understand that the paper has now taken on the role of besmirching a person’s character to sell news?

I am the proud Vice-President of the Amerindian Peoples Association (APA) and also a permanent resident of Aishalton Village, Deep South Rupununi. I follow the objectives of the organisation and Mr Antone and the Chronicle are free to look at these any time to inform themselves as to my aims and objectives as an indigenous Guyanese.

I am not a member of the Amerindian Liberation Front, I am not privy to any declarations by the group and I therefore cannot speak on behalf of it. As a Guyanese I have the right to belong to a political party whether it is APNU, AFC, PPP or whatever, and will support any party that recognises and respects the rights of the indigenous peoples of this land of ours we call Guyana.

As someone who had travelled throughout the Deep South of Guyana, I am aware that the major concern of the residents is the outstanding land issues including land extensions and the extractive activities that are increasingly being promoted on our lands. Noel Antone should be more concerned about the social and environmental consequences of poor mining practices on our people than on seeking his few moments of fame through the selling of lies.

In conclusion, I note the use of sensational language such as “harassing and molesting” people to support a “state within a state” through “an armed conflict.” I have concluded that these are all moves to cause confusion among our people and the work of some disgruntled detractors who cannot get his/her own way with our people.

As a resident of the Deep South I am aware that there are moves afoot to destabilise the communities, to the extent of pitting one community against another and besmirching peoples’ character, among other things, which will soon come to light.

I have some doubts as to whether or not Noel Antone actually exists so I would be happy to meet with this person to clear this up.

Yours faithfully,
Tony James

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