This Act provides for local government of Amerindians, i.e. an Indian who is a member of a tribe indigenous to Guyana. For this purpose Amerindian Districts, Amerindian Areas and Amerindian Villages are established.The Act also provides for the protection of property of Amerindians and establishes the Amerindian Purposes Fund. The Minister may establish District Councils or Area Councils as a body corporate. The Councils shall, among other things, manage and regulate the use and occupation of land situated in a District, Area or Village. Subject to certain limitations, all rights in state land situated within a District, Area or Village shall be transferred to the respective Council. Councils may, with the approval of the Minister, make rules for, among other things: provision of food and water; prevention of pollution of waters; the development of agriculture and livestock; the prevention of soil erosion; and the felling of trees and the cutting of timber.
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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.
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