Lands and Surveys officers removing Amerindian community status from Barabina

Dear Editor,

Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GLSC) officers in the Mabaruma sub-region, Region 1 (Barima- Waini) are currently in the process of removing from Barabina its status as an Amerindian community. The GLSC officers are entering the community without permission from the community council and are ordering the community residents to pay for the land plots they are occupying and which have been surveyed without their free, prior and informed consent. The GLSC officers are currently conducting land plots surveys. The Barabina Amerindian community was established since the 1920s and has a sacred archaeological site. Can the GLSC say if they have authorized land plots surveys in the Barabina community, and if so on what basis? Further, at the recently held Region 1 Toshaos conference at Mabaruma an officer of the GLSC from Georgetown made a presentation where he was informed about what his officers were doing in the Barabina community. He replied that the GLSC is not aware of this and that he would have to investigate. Since Barabina is a known Amerindian community I am appealing to the GLSC to have its Mabaruma office return the monies taken from the poor community residents. Further, the Barabina community as well as other communities such as Koborimo, Smith Creek and Khan Hill are now in the Municipality of the Mabaruma Township without their consent, and as a matter of fact no consultations were held with the Amerindian communities. It must be noted also that the Region 1 Toshaos conference passed two resolutions. One is that untitled Amerindian communities are no longer to be referred to as CDCs but as Com-munity Councils provided for in sections 85-89 of the Amerindian Act 2006. The other resolution is that the Amerindian villages and communities of Region 1 fully support the position taken by the National Toshaos Council (NTC) and Amerindian organizations in relation to the Lands Commission of Inquiry.

Yours faithfully,

Peter Persaud

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