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|History created as... INDIGENOUS PEOPLE’S COMMISSION PRESENTS FIRST ANNUAL REPORT|
|Thursday, 26 July 2012 22:51|
THE Indigenous People’s Commission (IPC) presented its first annual report, since the establishment in September 2010, to Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr. Raphael Trotman yesterday.
The presentation was done by Chairperson of the Commission, Ms. Doreen Jacobis, in the presence of other members and other key stakeholders.
On receiving the documentation, the Speaker remarked that it was a very proud day for Guyana, adding that the Parliament is also very pleased and feels very encouraged by this development.
The Commission was named following much groundwork and its first meeting was convened in May 2011 in Public Buildings.
The Speaker observed that the Commission was intended to be a kind of a bridge between the National Assembly and the people, while the Commissioners will report to the House on their work. Parliament will, in turn, consider and adopt such reports, not just in an abstract way, but in a structured and systematic fashion.
He told the Commissioners: “I am, actually, now looking for a means or a method to receive the reports from the Commission, go through them and have a kind of interactive session as to how I can receive these reports and not have them just placed on the desk of a Member of Parliament. I need them discussed, debated and to have you present them in an interactive kind of session.”
Acknowledging that the Commissioners would have spent a lot of time meeting people, listening to them and their concerns and, generally, putting a lot of hard work into getting the reports together, the Speaker considered that it would be better to have them presented verbally and not just written and submitted.
He said: “I think it is important for there to be some form of deliberative session where you can be heard.”
To this end, the Speaker proposed breaking with parliamentary tradition, by allowing citizens who are not members to address the National Assembly, during which the Chairperson of the Commission will deliver an Executive Summary of their findings.
He suggested that, on such days, Parliament could have a special sitting at which reports could be tendered and he advised that he is pursuing this proposal with the Clerk of the National Assembly, to see how best this could be done.
Parliament goes into recess on August 10 and returns on October 10 and he said more than likely, the proposal could be implemented in the latter part of the year.
Before the formal handing over of the IPC Report, the Speaker invited questions and/or observations from Commissioners and others present, a move which paved the way for forthright views, including on matters concerning mining in Amerindian communities and the issue and/or transfer of rights to lands owned or occupied by indigenous peoples to other persons.
Some were raised by Members of Parliament (MPs) Valelrie Garrido-Lowe of the Alliance for Change (AFC) and Ronald Bulkhan of A Party for National Unity (APNU), on matters related to Amerindian rights.
Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Ms. Pauline Sukhai, who congratulated the IPC for the work they have done, so far, considered the eventual submission yesterday as a breath of fresh air for the indigenous peoples.
Noting that having listened to the concerns highlighted by the two MPs, she said the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs stands ready, at any time, to deal with such issues.
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