Disappointed in Shuman
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Dear Editor,
I cannot believe that according to Deputy Speaker, Lenox Shuman, the “PPP has no respect for Amerindians”.  So I will seek to prove the opposite, and hopefully ‘jog the memory’ of this leader and politician who is very influential and, therefore, must be mindful of his utterances.

I go back to February 2021 when Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr Ashni Singh, informed the nation that “The long-delayed Amerindian Land Titling project will be expedited through the budgetary allocation of $630 million.”

He detailed at that time, that “We spent the last few months of 2020, preparing the groundwork for re-energising the Amerindian Land Titling programme to achieve its aim of providing titles to 68 villages.” Now, I am hoping this suffices to show that there is no ‘disrespecting of Guyana’s Indigenous peoples by the PPP government. But it gets even more convincing that Shuman’s accusations are unfounded.

I remind all that the Amerindian Land Titling Project, which is about securing lands and natural resources for Amerindians, actually began under the previous PPP/C administration and was funded by a $2.2 billion (US$11M) United Nations Development Programme grant. However, this project was insensitively terminated in 2016, just a mere one year into the A Partnership for National Unity+ Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) Administration, leaving several communities without their titles.

So, as expected, my question rings loud as regards Lenox Shuman and his fulminations that the PPP/C Administration has no respect for Indigenous peoples.

Shuman recently had to remove his Facebook post that accused the PPP/C of promising a 50 per cent salary increase to public servants, when this was never so, and he has not yet apologised. Now he adds to his unsavoury rhetoric even further.

He surmises that “In the supposedly re-invented PPP post- 2020 elections, it was my sincere belief that the PPP was a transformed organisation and that they were open to dialogue on issues surrounding Indigenous peoples. I can say with absolute conviction, nothing is further from the truth.” Wow!

I ask that Shuman check up on recent history and do the comparison with the recent APNU+AFC era. It is clear that under the PPP/C Guyana’s first people are always treated better.

Yours truly,
Attiya Baksh

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