The Act provides for the establishment of a permanent government institution called the Amerindian Lands Commission. This commission shall be charged with powers of the High Court for the purpose of recommending or determining in matters of granting of legal ownership of rights of occupancy over areas and reservations or part thereof where a tribe or community of Amerindians is now ordinarily resident or settled and other legal rights, such as the right of passage, in respect of any other lands where they now by tradition or de facto enjoy freedoms and permissions corresponding to rights of that nature. (14 sections)
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Originally a Dutch colony in the 17th century, by 1815 Guyana had become a British possession. The abolition of slavery led to settlement of urban areas by former slaves and the importation of indentured servants from India to work the sugar plantations. The resulting ethnocultural divide has persisted and has led to turbulent politics. Guyana achieved independence from the UK in 1966, and since then it has been ruled mostly by socialist-oriented governments. In 1992, Cheddi JAGAN was elected president in what is considered the country's first free and fair election since independence.