The Cummingsburg Accord signed by the Alliance For Change and the A Partnership for National Unity on 14th February to formalize the pre-electoral alliance has caused some excitement in the air, and many of my non-Amerindians friends cannot wait to wake up to a new dawn of national development. I myself cannot wait to see a bright sun rising over Guyana’s 83,000 square miles bringing hope and inspiration to many Guyanese, especially the indigenous people who are mostly settled in the hinterland and riverain areas.
However, I would like APNU-AFC coalition to appoint an Amerindian representative so that we can confidently elect our leader at the polls, and leave our respective homes knowing that we have made the right decision. Under the new government we would like to see equality, non-discrimination and the assurance of being responsive to the 10 per cent indigenous population which forms part of our ethnically diverse nation. We would also wish to see the promotion of good governance which we believe will further enhance the rights and development of Amerindian peoples in Guyana.
I have also been interacting with many Amerindians youths who are residing in the coastal areas, many of whom are in the support of the coalition but are very apprehensive about the absence of an Amerindian representative. Every evening we turn on our televisions and read daily newspapers to sensitize ourselves to the developments made by the APNU-AFC coalition, but to our disappointment there is no Amerindian representative. Therefore we are recommending Mrs Valerie Garrido-Lowe to be an Amerindian and hinterland representative. Mrs Lowe has been visible and effective and has been representing Amerindians for the past three years as an AFC parliamentarian. She has gone to several locations to deliver the message of hope to the hopeless. She has touched the lives of many persons, especially the indigenous peoples who thought that they were voiceless.
During my spare time, I was fortunate to accompany Mrs Lowe in her outreaches to many hinterland communities, from the long tiring boat rides in the Barima-Waini Region, to the rough ATV rides in the Pakaraima Mountains. As a parliamentarian she empowered hinterland people through training at Paramakatoi, Campbell -town and Santa Rosa, just to name a few. She not only played an integral role in reshaping the political landscape in the interior but also had an interest in hinterland affairs. We need an intelligent and caring Amerindian leader who will lead us in formulating and implementing policies and programmes consistent with free, prior and informed consent, thus enabling the full inclusion and participation of the indigenous people. Therefore, I am asking the APNU-AFC coalition to appoint Mrs Valerie Garrido-Lowe as a first Amerindian Vice Presidential candidate for the Co-operative Republic of Guyana.