Letter to the UN Resident Representative Requesting her Intervention in having Junior Minister Broomes’ Mining Properties Relocated out of the Tasserene Proposed Title Area
January 13th, 2016
Ms. Khadija Musa
United Nations Development Programme
Dear Ms. Musa,
TASSERENE LAND TITLING PROCESS – CONFLICT OF INTEREST
The Guyana Empowered Peoples’ Action Network (GEPAN) brings to your attention the conflict of interest emanating from Junior Minister Simona Broomes’ possession of three mining blocks within the proposed title area of Tasserene, Middle Mazaruni, Region n° 7.
The Akawaio community of Tasserene had submitted an application for Absolute Grant to the former Amerindian Affairs Ministry in 2007. It is one of the communities slated to be titled and demarcated under the LCDS funded Amerindian Land Titling Project (ALT). Upon inception, the responsibility to implement the project was attributed to the Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Ministry (former Amerindian Affairs Ministry) in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
GEPAN has observed that Junior Natural Resources Minister Simona Broomes, possesses at least three medium scale mining blocks at Issano, located within the Tasserene proposed boundaries. The Minister during a press conference convened at Cara Lodge, Quamina Street, January 6th, 2016, in the presence of Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman, confirmed her ownership of these blocks. She has also indicated the possibility of selling them to another mining company. (Source: Guyana Chronicle, January 8, 2016. http://guyanachronicle.com/broomes-says-no-conflict-of-interest-serving-as-natural-resources-minister/).
According to the following national and international legislations, GEPAN confirms that the actions of the Honourable Minister are in violation particularly of:
- Article 8. 2 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which states:
“States shall provide effective mechanisms for prevention of, and redress for:
- (b) Any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them of their lands, territories or resources; “
2. Article 26, 3 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which states:
“States shall give legal recognition and protection to these lands, territories and resources. (…)”
3. Articles 6, 7, 10, 25, 26. 1, 26.2, 27, 29.1, 29.2 and 32 are also applicable to the Government of Guyana and its responsibility in guaranteeing the access of the people of Tasserene to their ancestral land rights.
4. The Second Schedule of the Amerindian Act, n° 6 – 2006 which states:
“AN ACT to provide for the recognition and protection of the collective rights of Amerindian Villages and Communities, the granting of land to Amerindian Villages and Communities and the promotion of good governance within Amerindian Villages and Communities.”
5. The Preamble of the Constitution of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana which states:
“WE THE GUYANESE PEOPLE (…) Value the special place in our nation of the Indigenous Peoples and recognize their right as citizens to land and security and to their promulgation of policies for their communities;”
6. Article 111 of the Mining Act Cap. 65:01, which states:
“For the purposes of this Act, all land occupied or used by Amerindian communities and all land necessary for the quiet enjoyment by the Amerindians of any Amerindian settlements, shall be deemed to be lawfully occupied by them.”
In addition to the legal framework encompassing indigenous land rights, the Government in an effort to promote exemplary leadership, has the responsibility to ensure that each of its members prioritizes the welfare and rights of the people of Guyana, and in this case the Akawaio people of Tasserene.
Minister Broomes reserves the right to have her blocks relocated out of the proposed titled area upon simple request to the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission. Such a decision would significantly reduce the obstacles to the Tasserene Land Titling Process, expediting the issuance of an Absolute Grant in keeping with the responsibility and the goals of the Government of Guyana.
The Blocks in question appear on the GGMC mineral map for the proposed title area of Tasserene, registered under:
1. Simona Broomes (or SB), B-149/MP/000, 2013
2. Simona Broomes (or SB) B-149/MP/001, 2013
3. Simona Broomes (or SB) B-150/MP/000, 2013
Considering the aforementioned elements and the need to address indigenous land rights in Guyana, the Guyana Empowered Peoples’ Action Network (GEPAN) humbly requests your urgent intervention in attempting to resolve this conflict of interest on behalf of the Akawaio people of Tasserene.
We look forward to your swift cooperation.
Cc: Hon. Minister Sydney Allicock, Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Ministry
Cc: Hon. Minister Raphael Trotman, Natural Resources Ministry
Cc: Hon. Junior Minister Simona Broomes, Natural Resources Ministry
Cc: Hon. Minister Amna Ally, Social Cohesion Ministry
Cc: Mr. Alvin Joseph, Tasserene Village Council
Cc: Mr. Joel Fredericks, Chairman, National Toshaos’ Council (NTC)
Cc: Ms. Doreen Jacobus, Indigenous Peoples’ Commission
Cc: Mr. Terrence Adams, President, GGDMA
Cc: Ms. Marianne Johansen, Director, Institute of Environment/LCDS, Government of Norway
Cc: FCPF Secretariat
Cc: Mr. Jean Ricot Dormeus, Representative, Organisation of American States (OAS)
Cc: Guyana Representative, Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organisation (ACTO)
Cc: Ms. Gail Teixeira, Chief Whip, PPP/C
Cc: Guyana Times Newspaper, Stabroek News, Kaieteur News