The International Decade for People of African Decent- Guyana (IDPADA-G)has told the Permanent Forum of People of African Descent Assembly at the United Nations, that there are threats to the livelihoods of Afro-Guyana.
The organization’s representatives told the forum of the organisation’s own troubles with the government, highlighting the government’s decision to withhold funds from it.
The organisation’s statement was delivered by its Attorney Nigel Hughes at the United Nations.
“The situation in Guyana reveals too many instances of State oppression and exacerbation of racial tensions. For example, the State has defunded the IDPADA-G based on its perception that the organisation held an opposing view of the government thereby stymieing its work,” Hughes told the forum.
Mr. Hughes told the forum that it is important that the Guyana Government establishes a national commission that commences two national assessments of the African Guyanese contribution to the development of Guyana with a view to compensation.
As it relates to the national redress for the lasting consequences of past injustices and crimes against people of African Descent, Hughes said the State has demonstrated little progress in this regard through a Land Commission of Inquiry conducted in December 2018 and that one of the recommendations has been actioned to date.
Further, Hughes told the forum that there are threats to villages purchased by freed Africans in the post-emancipation era, which have been subject to arbitrary possession by the State. He said the continued dispossession of ancestral lands has stymied growth and development in afro villages.
“Similarly, IDPADA-G draws attention to the area of natural resources, quarrying, mining, forestry, and agriculture, and recommends that the State and international bodies address inequalities in access to permits and titles with alacrity. The Guyana Geology and Mines Commission has been unfairly denying quarrying concessions to African Guyanese with no course of redress,” Hughes told the forum adding that the African culture and traditions are also under threat.
Meanwhile, Minister of Tourism Oneidge Walrond, who delivered a statement on behalf of the government said the government of Guyana has respected the rights of Afro- Guyanese. She said the government has pointed out the legal and institutional framework to ensure that afro-Guyanese are respected and contribute equally to the development of the country.
“Guyana is a multi-ethnic society striving to forge unity and harmony amongst our diverse peoples. We will, therefore, continue to support the work of this Forum, including the elaboration of a Political Declaration on People of African Descent.” Walrond told the forum.