REO cannot give instructions to guest house management of Amerindian village

Dear Editor,

Residents of the Moraikabai Amerindian village of Region 5 (Mahaica-Berbice) complained bitterly to me when I visited that village on 28-29th July, 2017 that the Regional Executive Officer (REO) of Region 5 wants to take over the village guest house by passing instructions to the management of that guest house. This is a gross violation of the Amerindian Act 2006 since it is only the Moraikabai Village Council which has this right, and no other entity or person.

Moraikabai is a titled Amerindian village governed by the Amerindian Act 2006. I wonder if the region’s REO knows about this? It doesn’t seem so. I advised village residents to reject any instruction or instructions handed down to them by the REO. And I further advised that anyone who wishes to enter village lands must first apply and receive the permission of the village council (Section 5 of the Amerindian Act 2006). And if that person contravenes this section of the Amerindian Act, that person is guilty of an offence which carries a penalty (Section 5(2)).  Can the Region 5 Regional Democratic Council (RDC) say if it is aware of the actions of the REO in relation to the village guest house? If not, can the RDC ensure that instructions by its REO to the Moraikabai village guest house cease immediately?

I am aware that Guyana’s RDCs (not all of them) provide for Amerindian village development in their regional budgets for submission to the Ministry of Finance (MOF) for the compilation of Guyana’s National Budget, but this does not mean they have to micro-manage, own and control any development project built by state funds.

Yours faithfully,

Peter Persaud   

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