Tragedy continues to befall young gold-seekers
The price of gold continues to climb on the world market and it’s no different in Guyana, hence the rush to Guyana’s interior for a better standard of living by many young men and even women.
But very few stop to think of the risk involved, which includes, the high incidence of robberies, freak accidents and murders.
And in recent months, death has found many.
Helena Smith lost her son just over a month ago in a boat accident in the Puruni. He was seeking a better living not only for his children but for his nieces and nephew whom he took care of.
Smith’s son, George Bowman, was one of two persons who perished after a boat in which they were travelling in capsized in the Puruni River. His death has affected his family both emotionally and financially. Smith said her son not only provided for her and his children but also for his sister’s children. She is left to look after her grandchildren who are all of school age.
Speaking of her son’s life before venturing into the interior Smith said her son did construction work and when the work ‘slowed down’ he drove a minibus to keep the money flowing.
“He would go to Trinidad and work and come back here and I was begging him to go back to Trinidad but some friend tell he about the bush and the money so he decided to go.”
This was not George’s first time in Guyana’s interior but it was definitely his last time. Last Father’s Day, George, along with several other miners, came out to the ‘landing’ to celebrate.
They were returning to their worksite when the boat capsized. Smith remained hopeful that her son, who was a strong swimmer, would be found alive after being informed of the incident. However, some three days later her son’s body was found along with the body of another man who was identified as Devon Codagon.
Smith said since her son’s death his employer never made an attempt to offer assistance to her family. In wake of this the woman said she hopes the regulatory bodies and the relevant stakeholders in the mining sector will be looking at putting some mechanism in place that will protect persons and their families even after death. Smith explained that her son’s employer never made any effort to contact her; hence she was forced to seek the intervention of the police. She alleged that it was only after the intervention of the police that her son’s employer finally decided to assist with funeral expenses. Smith added that the man had also promised to assist George’s children but to date nothing has been forthcoming as her calls to his phone have all gone unanswered.
“Too many young men continue to lose their lives in the bush and sometimes it is only because of the kindness of the employee the family end up getting something but in most cases the employee do nothing,”
Hence Smith suggested that persons venturing into the interior should seek to protect themselves and family.
“I think that these people should start entering into written agreement with the people they go to work with. It must clearly state what they will be working for as in how much money and something should be stated about benefit in the event of an accident.”
Over the past two months there have been at least six reported deaths in the interior.
On June 23, two miners were killed and a cook seriously injured after a branch from a tree fell on their mining camp. A man identified as Antonio also called Mathurin, was killed on the spot, while Clive McDonald of Mon Gripper Hill, Bartica died while being transported out of the mining district. The camp’s cook, 29-year-old Alicia Fiedtkou of Linden, was also injured. On Saturday June 16, a mechanic from Golden Grove East Coast Demerara, Floyd Mathis went for a swim at Bamboo landing, North West District. He went under the water and never resurfaced. The man’s body was recovered a week later.
On Sunday June 17, George Bowman and Devon Cadogan died after a boat they were travelling in capsized.
Also on June 26, Ryan Junior Bristol,26, who was set alight by one of his work colleagues in Mahdia succumbed to his injures. According to reports, the man was sleeping in his hammock when his colleague ‘tripped out’ and attacked him.