Child bitten by scorpion buried in Mabaruma

Dear Editor,

The four-year-old male child from Mabaruma township (Barima-Waini) who was bitten by a scorpion on Saturday, 5th August, 2017 and who died the same day at the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPH) has been laid to rest at the Mabaruma cemetery after a decent burial on Saturday 12th August, 2017. Thanks a million to the Regional Health Officer (RHO) and the owners of the aircraft, ‘Wings of Humanity’, who made quick arrangements for the child’s body to be flown back to Mabaruma after the post mortem for a decent burial.

Had it not been for the RHO and owners of Wings of Humanity the child would have been given a ‘poor’ burial at the Le Repentir Cemetery. I was informed that the $30,000 pittance for death expenses given by the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples Affairs (MOIPA) was because the ministry had completed its budget for submission to the Ministry of Finance for incorporation into Guyana’s upcoming National Budget. I wonder what MOIPA’s budgetary line item for Amerindian death expenses looks like. If it is not at least $8 million, Amerindians referred to the GPH for medical treatment by hinterland hospitals who die, will continue to be given ‘poor’ burial in Georgetown.

I do not think this is being fair to our people. It is gross hypocrisy when we see the value and importance of Guyana’s Indigenous Peoples only when they are alive, but when they die, they cease to have importance. It is therefore very important that we respect Guyana’s Indigenous people both when they are alive and when they die.

Yours faithfully,

Peter Persaud

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