…and words and landsThis must be the season for making “demands” on the Government. After Prezzie accepted there was nothing untoward about groups hollering for attention when they consider themselves neglected, some in the African Forum audience renewed their claim that if Amerindians had “gotten” lands, why shouldn’t Africans? If the Amerindian “grants” were on account they’d arrived before everybody else, the claimants argued, then what about that 10,000 year-old fossil of “Luzia” in Brazil that has negroid features?Now the moment these claims were made, you just knew this was just the beginning of a whole new wave of claims and counterclaims for the national patrimony. And that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? It’s always about that: in this case those who “came first” should get the inside track on whatever is being doled out – and in this case, land.So before you can say “boo!”, we had the first riposte from an Amerindian group – the Guyana Organisation of Indigenous Peoples (GOIP). In the run-up to the national gathering of the Toshaos Council on the coast, they’ve just demanded that certain “misnomers” in the Amerindian Act be changed. The first one went straight to the heart of the contention made by the African group and their claim for land.That in the Act, the phrase “grant of land title” should now read “the return of land”… And the second change demanded pretty much explains why – that the word “Amerindian” should be replaced by “Indigenous People”. To make the point pellucid, the Title of the Act should now be changed to “1st Guyanese Act”. Now your humble Eyewitness can just hear the outraged screams of protest from the “other side”!Because if these changes are made, the whole argument for the African indignation at Amerindians getting lands, fails. Official confirmation would be granted to the latter – and with that, their claim to the land. The demanded change even undermines a more nuanced objection the African claimants had made – that some Amerindian tribes had arrived in Guyana AFTER African slaves. This view assumes the nine tribes of Amerindians in our territory make the Amerindians different “peoples”.Most Amerindians had gone along with this view – until it was used to undermine their claim to the land. So now the demand is for “Amerindian” to be changed to “Indigenous People” –- not “Peoples”. So if all the Amerindians are “one people”, it really doesn’t matter. That even one of them was in the territory of modern Guyana when Columbus sailed past on his third voyage means they had the first dibs on ALL the land.And the rest of us should be lucky they don’t want to drive the rest of us back into the sea!…on slave rebellion monumentThe 1823 Slave Rebellion took place on the East Coast of Demerara and hastened the move from “amelioration” of slavery to full “emancipation” by 1838. Hundreds of African slaves were killed before and after the rebellion, including dozens who were impaled at the Parade Ground as a “lesson” to those who were also impatient for emancipation.We should also remember the above Rebellion because of the fight between the PPP’s Ministry of Culture and several African cultural groups as to where a monument commemorating the event should be located. The PPP Government consulted some groups and chose the beginning of the East Coast Highway where the rebellion had occurred, while a larger number of organisations felt it should be at Parade Ground – the site of the public executions.In a judgement worthy of Solomon, Prezzie attended this year’s commemoration at the “Government’s” site – and promised a new Monument at Parade Ground!…of Pharma bottom houseThe Ministry of Public Health’s been mandated to “renegotiate” the rental of the Pharma bottom house. But the Albouystown facility doesn’t even have a loading dock – much less one to unload the usual consignment of four or five containers.The drugs will be parachuted in?