Lands inquiry final report to be submitted next month

The final report of the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into African ancestral lands and other land matters is being finalised for submission next month.

This was related by Commissioner Paulette Henry, who told Stabroek News that the commission is collating the data it has gathered, so a handover can be facilitated in March.

The report will include information from all consultations with stakeholders, both individuals and agencies, at the national and regional levels, and data from investigations into issues raised during the hearings. In December, the CoI took its public consultations to regions Two, Five and Six, where one-day meetings were held. These sessions were a follow-up to wider consultations that were held between August and October at the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission, and which drew participants from Georgetown and outlying regions.

The preliminary report was handed over in October, just a few days after the initial consultations had concluded.

When the Commission was appointed in March last year, it was tasked with examining and making recommendations to resolve all the issues and uncertainties surrounding the individual, joint or communal ownership of land acquired by freed Africans; claims of Amerindian land titling; and other matters relative to land titling.

After resistance from the Amerindian community, which had argued that Amerindian land titling should be treated as a separate issue, it was decided that the commission would proceed to investigate only matters in relation to African ancestral lands and other general land matters.

Henry indicated that there has been no official word on the way forward as relates to the commission examining Amerindian land titling.

The commission was chaired by Reverend George Chuck-a-Sang, who worked along with commissioners David James, Carol Khan-James, Professor Rudolph James, Lennox Caleb, Berlinda Persaud and Henry.

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