Guyana’s development: 14 indigenous persons recognised

Vice President Allicock, Minister Garrido Lowe and Permanent Secretary Alfred King with the recipients of special awards

Indigenous Peoples’ Month – September:

The Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, on Monday, honoured 14 outstanding indigenous persons who have made significant contributions to Guyana’s development.

The individuals who were drawn from all ten administrative regions were honoured during the annual Celebration of the Life and Work of Guyana’s first indigenous Parliamentarian, Stephen Campbell. The function was hosted at the Indigenous Village, Sophia.  

This year also marked 60 years since Stephen Campbell entered Guyana’s Parliament. Stephen Campbell became the first indigenous Guyanese elected onto the Legislative Council of British Guiana on September 10, 1957. He died on May 12, 1966 just two weeks before Guyana gained Independence from Great Britain.

Vice President and Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock, in acknowledging Mr. Campbell’s contributions, said that while it’s a time of celebration, it is moreso a time of reflection on the work done some 60 years ago.

The Vice President said, “Mr. Campbell opened doors for those of us who followed and those of us who believed in the recognition of indigenous peoples. Almost singlehandedly, Mr. Stephen Campbell fought in all areas for the good of his people.

“Under his lobbying, indigenous peoples were allowed to vote at national elections.
After 50 years, we are still not organized as he wished us to be. We should take these opportunities and every time we have this day put aside for him, to think about the values and the legacy he left and what we are contributing. “.

Minister Allicock said the National Toshaos Council also has a key role to play. “I would have been happy to see a scholarship in his name for the development in every field, moreso in the area of the protection of the environment, but I would prefer to ask that we have this discussed. Here is where I would like to draw the recognition of the chief of the National Toshaos Council, Mr. Joel Fredericks who is in a key position, to help us decide on what should be that pillar of continued recognition every year”.

In saluting the contributions made by the awardees, Minister within the Ministry, Valerie Garrido-Lowe said the contributions of Mr. Campbell so many years ago would have created opportunities where teachers, doctors, nurses, former and current ministers of the government among others, could be recognised today.

Minister Garrido-Lowe added, “A committee that was set up has chosen to honour 14 such persons. You will agree that they are worthy of honour.”
Commenting on the contributions made by Mr. Campbell, Minister Garrido-Lowe said, “We are going to promote the idea and I am sure that parliament would agree with us to have a Stephen Campbell statue placed, along with all the Guyanese independence fighters, because that is what he was.”
Monday evening’s awardees were  Laureen Pierre in the field of Research; Pearline Woolford, John King, Victor Ferreira, Leola Marslow, Joan Russell, Gerard La Rose and Iola Johnall for their contributions to the Education Sector, and Julian Kattow, for his contribution to Culture.
Leeland Clenkian received an award for his contributions in the area of Community Development; Mildred Toney for Health; Louis Lowe for Engineering; Muacir Baretto for Politics and Vernon Cheong for Poetry.

These individuals would have given more than twenty five years of service to Guyana.

Source : Kaieteur News – September 21, 2017

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