Work permits for Brazilian miners… Govt. pulls in GGDMA to help reduce delays, backlog
By Leonard Gildarie
midst mounting concerns over delays in the processing of work permits for Brazilians miners, the Guyana government says that it will allow the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) to assist in sponsorships.
GGDMA, which says it represents small, medium and large scale miners, is planning to meet with representatives of Brazilian nationals operating within the mining industry next Tuesday over the delays.
Currently, the Brazil/Guyana Development Institute, a non-profit organization located in Kingston, has been designated the only body other the Ministry of Home Affairs to accept and assist in processing of work permits.
According to GGDMA it has been receiving complaints of delays.
“This meeting is to sort out issues affecting the application for work permits and sponsorship of Brazilian nationals. Association members who employ Brazilian nationals have been experiencing some delays in the processing of these applications since a directive was received from the Ministry of Home Affairs that only the Brazil-Guyana Development Institute (BRDI) is allowed to facilitate sponsorships.”
GGDMA also released a letter sent from the Ministry of Home Affairs that informed one Noel Charles Campus, of Regent Road, Bourda, that he will not be accepted as a sponsor or employer for Brazilians, and that the institute is the only third party allowed to do so.
GGDMA asked: “What if a miner wishes to recruit an Indonesian or Philippino who are known to be excellent heavy equipment operators in the industry?”
Yesterday, Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, Robert Persaud, said that the matter had been engaging his ministry and that representations are being made to allow GGDMA to join the Brazilian Institute as being the bona fide third parties in accepting applications on behalf of the Brazilian miners.
Guyana in recent years have been battling a huge influx of Brazilians as gold prices rise to record levels on the gold market.
The country’s open borders and rough terrain coupled with an under-manned Guyana Geology and Mines Commission have not been helping to improve policing.
It is estimated that over 15,000 Brazilians are in Guyana. It is also estimated that more than 80% of them are not legally registered to live and work in Guyana.
Earlier this year, government had met with the Brazilians and made it clear that they had to get registered or face expulsion.
Complaints were made that Brazilians were paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to third parties to get work permits. There were also complaints of delays in processing of work permits and of shakedowns by police.
There were also accusations that some mining companies were taking thousands of dollars to apply for work permits for Brazilians, some of whom they never even saw.
Both the Home Affairs and Natural Resources Ministries had made it clear that third parties sponsors will no longer be accepted.
It was then, during a meeting at Celina Restaurant, that it was announced that the Brazilian/Guyana Development Institute will be the only third party, other than the Home Affairs Ministry, to process work permits.
But the response from the Brazilians has been slow. The institute last week reported that so far only 60 applications have been received since the measures by government were introduced.
GGMC and police are currently carrying out raids to mining camps in the interior to ensure they are in compliance. Several Brazilians have been held.
Kaieteur News has received reports that many Brazilians have gone underground.