Days after Deputy Speaker, Lennox Shuman chastised the Government over non-consultation with Amerindians and Amerindian rights groups on several crucial issues, Prime Minister Mark Phillips has responded to Mr. Shuman expressing his disappointment in Shuman’s position.
Shuman in a letter to the press said it is his firm belief that the PPPC government has zero interest in meaningfully engaging the country’s Indigenous people on any matter.
In response, the Prime Minister said Mr. Shuman’s suggestion that the PPP government is not open to consultation with the Indigenous community is erroneous.
The Prime Minister noted that there has been consultation and meetings taking place, including with Shuman himself.
“Not only is this position inconsistent with the well-established track record of the PPP/C when it comes to Amerindian development throughout its tenure in office, but it runs counter to the goodwill and good faith he and I shared in our most recent engagement,” the statement released by the Prime Minister’s office said today.
The Prime Minister recalled that back in October, he met with Mr. Shuman to discuss matters related to the development of Indigenous people. The Prime Minister pointed out that those meetings were cordial and noted that Mr. Shuman even boasted about the meeting on Facebook.
“It is now an enigma that only a few weeks later, Mr. Shuman has taken a position in absolute contrast and contradiction to the facts when even in his published letter to the editor, he admits to being consulted on numerous occasions and his suggestions considered. Outside of this inconsistency, I urge him to continue to engage the relevant authorities and respective ministries where there are concerns, as he has done in the past,” the Prime Minister said.
PM Phillips said the Indigenous people form a significant part of Guyana’s history and will most certainly be a part of its future and development through a considerate and consultative mechanism.
The PPP Government has come under fire recently for granting a mining license in part of the Rupununi region without adequate consultation with the communities in the area.