Mapa tomado de la venezolanidad del Esequibo pág. 451
The government has not had discussions with the indigenous people about large-scale farming in the Rupununi
By Stabroek staff November 30, 2009 in Letters
With regard to your article ‘Government still eying large-scale farming in the Rupununi’ (SN, November 18), we wish to thank you for at last letting the secret deal out of the bag.
At no time has this government had the common courtesy to inform us of this proposal nor to invite us to have informed discussion on same. We only read about this in your newspaper and saw some articles in the Frontier News of Roraima.
The meetings the Present referred to were carefully stage managed to avoid this topic. However, the issue was raised by at least one toshao, and the President answered that the laws of Guyana are different from those of Brazil, therefore the indigenous people have no cause to have fear.
We support the Low Carbon Development Strategy in principle. However, it is apparent that the President was not briefed by his ministers who attended the consultations in the Rupununi. Many toshaos and representatives spoke out against this proposed threat to our lives as indigenous peoples.
It is ironic that the Low Carbon Development Strategy is being used as a reference to destroy our future as soon as the ink has dried on the signed MOU with Norway.
For the President to say that the nearest community to the proposed plantation is 15 miles away speaks volumes about his knowledge of how we live.
The President does not know that we use the land as our supermarkets for our survival, and this means sometimes travelling for days to hunt and gather food for our families’ survival. Perhaps it is felt that we are in the way of ‘development,’ but yet our votes are needed to allow this government to achieve its 28 years in power.
We pride our home as being environmentally safe. We wish to continue to drink water from the streams and underground aquifers without having to worry about chemicals in them. We do not wish to be like an Amerindian community where the people are afraid to drink and use the water from a nearby river because of chemical pollution caused by others upstream.
As to the President dismissing conservationists we wish him to know that generally most Amerindians are in this group. It is our way of life.
Further, we have been informed that the Brazilian farmers are not indigenous friendly. We have seen a video in which indigenous people were beaten and shot at by the enforcers of the rice farmers. They even challenged the Brazilian army and police. Just after the opening of the Takutu Bridge we saw on the Brazilian news that objects were pelted at the President of Brazil. Is this what our government wants for us?
We ask who will benefit from this type of large-scale, chemical-infested farming? Do not tell us about jobs because this type of farming is done mostly by machines.
Finally, do not try to alleviate our fears of environmental degradation by saying that our EPA and government will safeguard us, because it will cause us to laugh even though this is such a serious matter.
But then elections are around the corner and it may be time for us to vote for our lives instead of a power saw, a tractor, a solar light, or even a bag and a T shirt.
1. BORAPORK says:
November 30, 2009 at 7:53 am
The indigenous community must be totally involved in all plans for the future development of their lands. They have been excellent stewards of the environment and consider the land part of their being. Unlike those in the major cities who see resources as entities to be exploited. Jagdeo sees their territory as his highway to the future. Keep advocating for inclusion in the decision process and use every communication tool to bring your plight to the attention of the shrinking world. Do not allow your way of life to be hijacked for a few dollars from the Norway fund.
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