Suspension of new river mining licences… Miners support no-confidence vote in Minister
A motion by the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) of no-confidence in Natural Resources and the Environment Minister Robert Persaud, was yesterday supported by miners. The action stemmed from last week’s suspension of new river mining permits as well as the Minister’s management of the sector.
The Association said that it will be seeking legal advice on the way forward from tomorrow. The special meeting held yesterday afternoon followed a meeting earlier in the day with Minister Persaud, who stated that the main reason behind the suspension of the river mining permits is because of complaints from the Amerindian communities of river pollution and environmental degradation.
President of the GGDMA Patrick Harding; said the Association felt that it was being ignored by the government and Persaud summoned them to talks only after their concerns were outlined in a paid advertisement in the daily newspapers.
The Association yesterday said that, they would like to know who has the final say as it relates to miners in Guyana – the Commissioner of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC); the Chairman or Secretary of the Board of GGMC or the Ministry of Natural Resources through the Permanent Secretary.
The miners said that they need to have “crystal clear” guidelines as it relates to this issue. They are of the view that Persaud is incompetent and has no mining background and as such he should not be involved in such decision-making. They stated that Persaud has been micro-managing the mining sector.
They also called for supervision of mines offices in the fields since it was noted that many stations are either un-manned or mines officers are not visible.
“The mines officers are corrupting the mining industry even further and everything is about bribes for them” said one miner.
The Association said they are also concerned about the delays in the processing of alternative blocks which the Closed Area Committee has recommended but they are yet to be informed of the approvals of these blocks.
Simona Broomes, President of the Guyana Women’s Mining Association (GWMO), said her organization is frustrated with the decision taken by the Mining Minister for the suspension of new river mining licences and is supporting the GGDMA fully to set up a mobilization committee to take the required action against Persaud, since she said the mining sector contributes significantly to the country’s growth and development.