Amerindian Affairs Minister continues to ignore Indigenous Rights issues

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Dear Editor,

On March 4th 2022 the residents of the Indigenous Village of Wikki/Calcuni in the Berbice River sent a petition to the Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Honourable Pauline Sukhai Campbell, M.P.  The petition (copy attached) seeks the removal of the Village Toshao.  The petition cites a number of alleged contraventions of the Amerindian Act which Villagers say the Toshao committed over time.  It is the second such petition to the same minister over a short time and for the same purpose.

It is alleged that the Minister refused to act upon the first petition, refusing and/or omitting to even acknowledge receiving it.  It is further alleged that the minister recently visited the Village, held discussion with some residents and rejected the second petition as well.

Section 25 (1) of the Amerindian Act states: “A member of the Village Council shall not put himself in a position where his duties to the Village shall conflict with his personal or other interests.”

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Section 26 (1) (d) states: “A Toshao or Councillor shall resign with immediate effect if – he contravenes section…25 (1)…”.

An examination of the petition herewith attached informs that there exists a massive conflict of interest involving the Toshao, This requires an urgent investigation in accordance with the law.

It follows that, Sections 25 (1) and 26 (1) (d) may be applicable.  In spite of this glaring possibility, the minister refuses to even consider the petition of a large number of residents of the Village of Wikki/Calcuni who are following the law which provides governance of such Villages.

It is clear that the matter is one of political connections.  Persons and their interests appear to have been accorded priority over Indigenous Rights once again.  This appears to be the hallmark of the sitting minister of Amerindian Affairs.

Yours faithfully,
Mervyn Williams



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