Former Attorney General Anil Nandlall is seeking to have an adjournment of tomorrow’s sitting of the National Assembly for the consideration of a motion calling on President David Granger to revoke the establishment of a commission to study Amerindian land titling, ownership of lands acquired by freed African slaves and other land titling matters.
A number of Amerindian groups have condemned the President’s plan including the National Toshaos’ Council.
The text of Nandlall’s proposed motion follows:
WHEREAS on the 11th March, 2017, His Excellency, President David Granger established a Commission of Inquiry under the Commission of Inquiry Act, Chap 19:03 of the Laws of Guyana for the following purpose:
“to examine and make recommendations to resolve all issues and uncertainties surrounding the claims of Amerindian land titling, the individual, joint or communal ownership of lands acquired by freed Africans and on any matters relating to land titling in Guyana.”
AND WHEREAS seven (7) persons have been appointed to this Commission and that this Commission is mandated to render its final report, findings and recommendations to His Excellency, the President, on or before the 1st day of November, 2017, or any later date as may be determined by His Excellency and THEREFORE, time is of the essence.
AND WHEREAS the aforesaid Commission was established without any “Free Prior and Informed Consent” consultations with the National Toshaos Council, the sole and legitimate representative body of the Amerindian peoples and communities, and, the recognized non-governmental organizations representing Amerindians in Guyana;
AND WHEREAS these organizations have all condemned the establishment of this Commission of Inquiry as a mechanism to guide the process of addressing the land issues as it relates to the Amerindian People of Guyana.
AND WHEREAS Guyana has already established under the Amerindian Act of 2006, a unique, comprehensive and robust legal framework which addresses Amerindian land rights and Amerindian communal land titling “forever and absolute” with “Free Prior and Informed Consent” of the Amerindian communities, in accordance with the Constitution of Guyana, statutes and international law;
AND WHEREAS while the President is free to establish Commissions of inquiry to enquire into any matter of public concern, including issues touching and concerning the ownership of lands acquired by free African slaves and all matters in connection therewith, there is no historical, scientific, theoretical, legal or practical basis to comingle these issues with Amerindian’s entitlement to traditional lands in Guyana.
AND WHEREAS the establishment of the aforementioned Commission not only violates a pre-independent commitment but also puts Guyana on a collision course with its international obligations for which we have received funding, under the Low Carbon Development Strategy, to establish a program that would guarantee title to traditional lands for Amerindians.
AND WHEREAS the establishment of the aforesaid Commission has the potential of further polarizing our people along ethnic lines and constitutes an expression of gross disrespect to the Amerindian people of Guyana and indeed, Amerindian people everywhere.
AND WHEREAS Guyana’s successful model of Amerindian communal land titling has been internationally recognised;
BE IT RESOLVED that this National Assembly calls upon His Excellency, President David Granger to revoke the establishment of the aforementioned Commission of Inquiry, forthwith.
BE IT RESOLVED that this National Assembly calls upon His Excellency, President David Granger to hold consultations with all the relevant stakeholders in order to determine a course of action that would accelerate the issuance of title to Amerindians for traditional lands and address all matters in relation thereto and in connection therewith.
Mohabir Anil Nandlall, MP
Pauline Sukhai, MP
Dated at Georgetown
This 12th day of April, 2017