Amerindian Land Heritage

first_imgIt is now more than two decades since the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Administration announced in 1995 that henceforth, the month of September would be designated “Amerindian Heritage Month” and that the Guyanese State would launch a series of activities annually to bring to the consciousness and weave into the rich tapestry of Guyana, the heritage of our Indigenous peoples. Locked away in the hinterland from the plantation-colonised coastal region, it was a case of “out of sight, out of mind” to the 90 per cent of the populace resident here.Every year since 1995, Amerindian Heritage Month was given a theme, with “Guyana’s first peoples – Sustaining a rich cultural environment,” being the one for 2017. This theme is rather ironic since the “cultural environment” of the Indigenous peoples is inextricably bound up with their land, and their rights to the latter have been subjected to extremely gratuitous attacks from members of the present administration.Unlike the descendants of Columbus and those they colonised and hegemonised, the Indigenous peoples view the land they occupy as sacred since they are sustained in every way through the crops they can grow, the animals they can hunt or fish, the shelters they can build, the cotton fabric they can cover their nakedness with and the herbs from the forest that provide medicines to cure their ailments. Like most modern men, our coastlanders can learn the true meaning of “environmental consciousness” from our Indigenous peoples who have not been completely brainwashed as most of us are into believing the earth is to be raped and ravished.What the Government is attempting to undermine – through stratagems such as attempting to subsume Amerindian Land Rights under a Commission of Inquiry into “African Ancestral Land Rights” and wild claims that some Indigenous peoples are not actually “indigenous” to Guyana – is the authoritative legal acknowledgement of Amerindian Land Rights. Unlike what one presidential advisor asserted, the lands which Indigenous peoples have been given, can be given title to and are not “reparations” for any past actions of the departed European powers, but an acknowledgement of their rights over land to which they are spiritually and culturally connected. The Dutch, whose rights the British assumed, never conquered but made treaties with the Indigenous peoples.In 1965, the first Amerindian Member of Parliament, Stephen Campbell accompanied the People’s National Congress (PNC) delegation, headed by Forbes Burnham, to London to negotiate the terms of Guyana’s imminent independence. Annex C of the Independence Agreement stipulated that the independent government provide legal ownership or rights of occupancy for Amerindians over: “areas and reservations or parts thereof where any tribe or community of Amerindians is now ordinarily resident or settled and other legal rights, such as the rights of passage, in respect of any other lands they now by tradition or custom de facto enjoy freedoms and permissions corresponding to rights of that nature.”By 1976, the Amerindian Act4 passed by the then PNC Government to give effect to Annex C, resulted in some Amerindian villages obtaining title to their lands. But it was not until a new Amerindian Act was passed by the PPP Government in 2006 that the full meaning of Annex C was given meaning.  Unlike the allusions as to when any particular Amerindian tribe arrived in Guyana, Article 60 (1) of the Act declares simply, “An Amerindian Community may apply in writing to the Minister for a grant of State lands provided – (a) it has been in existence for at least twenty-five years; (b) at the time of the application and for the immediately preceding five years, it comprised at least one hundred and fifty persons.”Emphasising the spiritual and cultural nexus with their lands, Article 62 (2) states, “In making a decision the Minister shall…consider the extent to which the Amerindian Village or Community has demonstrated a physical, traditional, cultural association with or spiritual attachment to the land requested.”It is hoped the Government will use the State apparatus to educate the Guyanese people on the above.last_img read more

Argentina wary of ‘superlative’ Neymar

first_img0Shares0000Brazil’s Neymar celebrates his goal on a penalty kick against the United States during the second half of a friendly soccer match Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015, in Foxborough, Mass. PHOTO/AP/Yahoo!BUENOS AIRES, November 11 – Argentina coach Gerardo Martino on Wednesday warned his players to beware the “superlative” form of Neymar as they prepare to take on Brazil in a heavyweight World Cup qualifying showdown.Barcelona superstar Neymar returns for Brazil in Buenos Aires on Thursday after serving a four-match suspension stemming from his dismissal during the Copa America in Chile in June. The 23-year-old striker joins up with the Selecao in prime form, fresh from scoring a sublime individual goal last weekend in Barcelona’s comfortable 3-0 victory over Villarreal at the Camp Nou.Martino said he believed Neymar was now close to joining Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the elite bracket of the world’s best footballers.“Neymar has reached a point of maturity. He’s in superlative form, nearly at the level of the two footballers who top them all,” Martino told reporters, referring to Messi and Ronaldo.Argentina’s preparations have been disrupted by a slew of injuries which have deprived Martino of Messi, Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez and Pablo Zabaleta.However Martino insisted Argentina still had enough talent to compete with the Brazilians, brushing off suggestions his team would start as underdogs.“It’s always a relief for your opponents when you’re missing players. Does that make Brazil the favorite? I don’t think so,” Martino said. “It’s a classic, and both teams have important players. We’re equally matched.”Martino hinted however that Argentina could adopt a cagey approach as they aim to secure their first win of the qualifying campaign after taking only one point from their opening two games.“It will be a matter of knowing how to attack so that we have less defensive problems. But we’ll have to take precautions too,” Martino said.The Argentina coach meanwhile dismissed questions about his future amid persistent speculation his job could be in jeopardy, telling reporters he was “not the right person” to talk about his position.“It’s exhausting and a waste of time (to talk about it),” he said.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Kicking the habit

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhy these photogenic dumplings are popping up in Los Angeles“Anecdotally, we’ve been hearing that it’s becoming more and more of a problem in the high schools,” she said. “A lot of celebrities are smoking cigars and it sets the trend for a lot of youth.” Cigars today come in several varieties – from thin cigarillos to cigars flavored with peaches and other fruits. Rap star 50 Cent is featured in ads for one brand of cigar, while rapper Jadakiss sells a slow-burning, natural-leaf cigar. “Our governor smokes cigars and makes no qualms about smoking cigars at the Capitol,” Aragon said. “It makes sense that young people would be following in the footsteps of those they look up to.” To counter the effects of tobacco advertisements, county health officials Wednesday launched “It’s Quitting Time, L.A!” – a campaign to get 200,000 smokers to quit by 2010. The campaign will enlist pharmacists and physicians to refer patients to anti-smoking programs and will particularly target ethnic communities, Aragon said. The Health Department study showed that smoking among all county residents is at an all-time low: Only 14.6 percent of residents light up. But Asian and Latino men are smoking twice as much as their female counterparts, the report showed. “Asian men do tend to smoke more than their non-Asian counterparts,” said Nisha Varghese, director of health programs at the San Gabriel-based Asian Youth Center. “Many of the men are immigrants from countries where smoking’s the norm.” African-American and white men are also smoking at higher rates. Nearly 27 percent of African-American men and 16.9 of white men are lighting up. “Los Angeles County has made great progress in reducing smoking rates and the health burden associated with tobacco addiction,” said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, acting director of the county Health Department. “But this survey tells us is that we must continue our efforts so all of our residents can avoid the disease and death caused by tobacco use.” The county spends $4.3billion a year on smoking- related health problems, most of which are preventable, said Supervisor Yvonne B. Burke. “Obviously for L.A. County, when we talk about costs, we talk about the cost of health care. We talk about the fact that we have neonatal units that care for babies that, some of those babies would not be there if their mothers had stopped smoking,” Burke said. (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3024160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Cynthia Torres of Pico Rivera considers herself a social cigar smoker. She said she started smoking cigars more frequently after her group of friends recently took it up. “I enjoy the experience of it, and I enjoy the socializing part that comes with it,” said Torres, 24. As the county Department of Public Health kicked off its latest anti-smoking campaign Wednesday with the release of a study showing minority men are lighting up more frequently, cigar smoking among young people seems to be on the rise, said Linda Aragon, director of the county’s Tobacco Control and Prevention program. last_img read more