Guyaneae Amerindians are calling for the return of their firearms or become licensed.
The Amerindian People’s Association has noted that the resident of Paruima Village, Region 7 are calling for their fire arms which were seized by the Ministry of Public Security, to be returned to them.
Several years ago, Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan, announced an amnesty period for person who carry unlicensed firearm to relinquish same or face the full force of the law.
The Amerindain communities were mostly affected by this exercise. As they were promised by the Minister that the necessary steps to make their weapon of livelihood legal if they turn their guns in.
The Minister was quoted as saying, “It had to happen, those guns were illegal,” he was referring to the guns used by the Amerindians to hunt and fish for a daily bread.
Ramjattan told the media back in 2016 that the licensing for Amerindian who have guns will be fast-tracked through a partnership with the Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affairs and he noted that the licensing process will be followed expeditiously from February 2016.
The APA noted that residents from the Paruima Village are complaining about the lack of their firearm which they rely heavily on farming for food and development.
The residents of the village noted that the Government of Guyana began the Firearm Amnesty programme which gave persons in possession of unlicensed firearms, the opportunity to forfeit them without legal repercussions, the residents noted that it was promised to them that those who adhered to the amnesty programme would have their firearms returned with the necessary licensing, however this is not the case.
The residents stressed that “it has been over two years since the end of the programme and the residents of Paruima are still waiting for their firearms to be returned.”
This situation has posed difficulties for how they support themselves now, their farmlands are now being raided by wild hogs (as well as other animals) which have led to depletions in their food supplies. Without their firearms, Paruima farmers cannot protect their crops against destruction, the APA said.
Given their circumstances, the residents are appealing for assistance from the government to address their firearms licensing and food shortages.
The people of Paruima do not use their firearms for warfare, gangs or crime. They use them as tools to support their lives and their families, the organization noted, the APA said.