The FLEGT consultation session held in Aishalton on February 13th 2017 received participation from 25 persons representing the villages of Aishalton, Katoonarib, Karandarnau, Achawib, Bashaizon, Awarewaunau, Maruranau and Shea. Targeted sessions in this area has always been critical given the vast distance between these villages and the mainland of Georgetown. Like many of the sessions held, an NIS officer was made available to discuss NIS requirements under the Law/VPA, and assist with any concerns which may arise. The NIS officer was also able to give a brief presentation on the benefits associated with NIS, and the process of registering for NIS and making claims.
During the session, the main dialogue within the group centered on Annex VIII: Support Measures and Financing Mechanisms, whereby a number of requests were made by the different villages. Like Lethem, participants believe that the VPA is a good approach to improving the management structure of the Village Council, and foster sustainable development of Amerindian People. However, they have noted that for villages to be compliant with the requirements under the VPA, resources will need to be mobilized. To this end, participants recommended that selected persons within the villages be trained as forest rangers and dendrologists. Additionally, training in the following areas were agreed as essential to the overall success of the VPA in Amerindian communities; forest inventory, Occupational Safety and Health, First-aid, etc. Furthermore, participants explained the need to have a better understanding/interpretation of the Laws which form part of the regulatory framework under the VPA. It was therefore recommended that future workshops should be held by the Ministry of Legal Affairs in these villages to discuss these Laws, and their rights therein.
Finally, requests were made for first-aid and snake bite kits, additional FLEGT booklets, posters and post-ups, support for community afforestation projects, copies of the Forest Act, Labor Act, Trafficking in Persons’ Act, and Mining Act, and workshops with NIS for persons to be registered. With regards to the latter, the villages stressed the urgent need for the establishment of an NIS desk within Aishalton to better serve the five (5) sub-districts within the Region 9 area. This is due to the high cost and time associated with travelling to the NIS office in Lethem.
Concluding remarks by Toshao Casimere of Aishalton “I love the atmosphere we have interacting and the simplicity we have in our discussions. We thank the team for always coming back to speak with us”