Six Amerindian communities receive certificates of title at NTC Conference

The government continues to prioritise land titling and demarcation in hinterland communities, in addition to improving accessibility in Amerindian communities.

Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai gave the assurance at the opening ceremony of the 2023 National Toshaos Council Conference, at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre on Monday.

The minister relayed that the project is expected to complete 45 absolute grants and 68 demarcations.

Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai addressing the 2023 NTC Conference at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre

“Our commitment towards land rights and tenure is unwavering. Our government is actively engaged in titling, extension of lands for villages, and the demarcation process is ongoing,” she said.

In a further representation of this commitment, six indigenous communities were awarded their certificates of title for their lands.

Receiving land titles were Four Miles, Region One, Capoey, Akawini, Mashabo, Wakapoa in Region Two, and Paramakatoi in Region Eight.

The Amerindian Land Titling process is facilitated by the Amerindian Act of 2006, which led to the establishment of the Amerindian Land Titling (ALT) Project. The project was launched by the PPP/C government in 2013, under a $2.2 billion (US$11M) United Nations Development Programme grant. It was extended from 2019 to 2021, and subsequently from 2022 to 2024.

The ALT project is aimed at completing all land titling and demarcation issues for all indigenous villages that submitted requests, in addition to strengthening mechanisms to deal with unresolved land issues.

This year’s budget allocated $500 million towards the ALT project.

Another aspect of this unwavering commitment to Amerindian development is the investments made in improving accessibility in remote and hinterland communities.

This is evident in the expansion of health services, especially with regard to the advent of telemedicine in remote and hinterland communities, as well as the construction of new schools and training facilities to improve access to adequate education.

“The combination of all of this is expected to greatly enhance opportunities and development prospects for Amerindian people in a fast-paced world and create a more equitable and prosperous future for all,” Minister Sukhai added.

She pointed out that the work is far from over, and reiterated the government’s dedication to working alongside the various Toshaos and village leaders to complement improved livelihood and development of Amerindian people.

“Together, we should shape a nation where every Amerindian person thrives, where tradition and cultures are honoured, and where a brighter future is within reach for all.”

Reiterating that the government prides itself on inclusivity and open dialogue while abiding by the principles of free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous peoples, the Amerindian Affairs minister urged leaders to use this conference as a forum to engage the executive on any challenges they face, in addition to highlighting their developmental priorities.

This year’s NTC Conference is being held under the theme: ‘Advancing Sustainable Village Development in a Low Carbon Economy’, and will see Toshaos and village leaders interacting with the country’s leaders to make critical decisions regarding their livelihoods and development.

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