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Akawaio, Arekuna people do not have “exclusive right” to Upper Mazaruni lands - Chief Justice rules


Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George

Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George on Friday ruled on the 28-year-old case by the Akawaio and Arekuna people against the government over lands in Region Seven.


After Guyana gained independence from the British in 1966, the following year, the government instituted an Amerindian Lands Commission tasked with mapping and suggesting titles to be issued to Indigenous communities.


In 1991, the titles were granted individually to each community, though they requested holding collective titles to their traditional territory.


Premised on this, the Arekuna and Akawaio people took the landmark case to court to fight for their rights as Indigenous peoples of Guyana.


In handing down her ruling, the Chief Justice noted that the Arekuna and Akawaio people do not have exclusive rights to the lands because non-Amerindians have also settled on the lands.


Moreover, Justice George held that there is also evidence that some of the lands in question are owned by the State. Notwithstanding, the State was ordered to pay the applicants $250,000 in court costs.

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