Minister roasted for calling Amerindians ‘greedy’

first_imgThe leadership of the National Toshao Council (NTC) used the opportunity on Monday to condemn recent comments made by a Government Minister, who suggested that Amerindians are greedy.At the opening of the 11th Annual NTC conference, Chairman of the Council Joel Fredericks criticised Government over an incident which took place in the National Assembly.Fredericks said the organisation views the comments made by the Minister as a direct attack on Indigenous people’s identity and expressed disappointment with the Minister’s statement.“(There are) Ministers of the Government, insulting the Indigenous people and calling them greedy, also in Parliament without any consequence,” he lamented.He also raised concerns over the fact that no parliamentarian, from both the Government and Opposition, objected to the remarks purportedly made by the said Minister in Parliament.While touting the need for cohesion and unity, the NTC Chairman lamented that Amerindians are sometimes still treated as third class citizens in Guyana, but he contends that Amerindians deserve respect like every other racial group in the country.The head of the NTC also committed to rebuking any form of racial provocation and propaganda that seeks to damage the image and the identity of the country’s first peoples.“We see a member working for this Administration, openly attacking the Indigenous people’s identity, integrity and history. We advise caution because such uttering drives a deep wedge in a nation,” he added.Although the NTC Chairman did not name the Minister, he was indirectly referring to Minister within the Social Protection Ministry, with responsibility for Labour, Keith Scott.Scott during a parliamentary sitting in June reportedly said that Amerindians are greedy because they requested security in the lands they have held since time immemorial.Scott had also philosophised that sovereignty now belongs to the State, governed by the coalition A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change Government (APNU/AFC).The Minister was debating the People’s Progressive Party’s (PPP) motion to halt the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the issues surrounding lands belonging to Amerindians and freed African slaves.Several Amerindian leaders and organisations have rejected Government’s decision to establish the CoI into land rights, on the grounds of lack of consultation among others.The NTC had said it views this decision as a “blatant attempt” to dispossess the Indigenous people of their lands and has argued that the two issues are unique and need to be addressed separately.The organisation said while it support reparations and repatriation of African Lands and addressing that issue with a great degree of urgency, the Indigenous lands issue cannot and should not be viewed in the same light, nor can it be addressed under the same framework.Although Amerindians leaders have met with President David Granger over this issue, the matter is yet to be resolved. No amicable solution has been found between parties.At the conclusion of the opening ceremony for the NTC Conference, a sod turning exercise took place at Sophia, Greater Georgetown, where the proposed site for the NTC Secretariat was revealed.Amerindian leaders from across the country will meet for the next several days during the conference to discuss issues facing their communities and talk about the successes they have achieved.The NTC conference opened on Monday at the Cyril Potter College of Education. The theme for this year’s conference is: “Good Governance – A brighter future for Guyana’s First peoples.”last_img

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