In Guyana, customary lands and forest that communities depend on are being illegally destroyed by extractive industries -operating within and outside of allocated concessions- and communities are suffering because they do not have title to the full extent of their traditional lands, or have no title at all. In addition to the fact that large parts of communities’ customary land have been left out of titled areas on paper, even more land has been cut off during demarcation of titles thereby eroding their customary land rights or causing boundary conflicts with neighbouring communities.
This report seeks to present a detailed picture of the current status of land rights for communities in the Potaro-Siparuni region (Region 8) in west-central Guyana. The study covers 22 villages and settlements. Fifteen of those villages have land titles, however, fourteen of those said they were not consulted and did not give their consent to the area granted as title.
The villages and communities taking part in this tenure study urge the Government of Guyana, as well as international organisations, to use the information contained in this report to inform and guide:
- Revisions to the 2006 Amerindian Act to ensure full protections for their collective customary land rights;
- Official measures to resolve land conflicts and deal with the third parties that are operating within village land titles and extension areas without our consent;
- National legal and policy changes needed to reform the way our land is allocated to outside concession holders, including respect for free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) on untitled customary lands.
- Dialogue on measures needed to enable the titling of Patamona lands and resources as one collective contiguous territory
"...communities call on the government and authorities to recognise, and provide with secure title, all lands that the Patamona and Makushi of the North Pakaraimas and surrounding areas have traditionally owned, occupied and used and where they hold close attachment to the land."