Joe Singh resigns as GGMC’s Chairman
… as GGDMA threatens boycott of Mining Week
Hours before today’s commencement of Mining Week, Chairman of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), Major General (rtd) Joe Singh, yesterday tendered his resignation.
The move came amidst increasing pressure by the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) which had threatened to boycott this week’s activities if Singh remained at the helm of the regulatory body.
GGDMA, an advocacy entity of which several powerful miners are its members, had recently passed a no confidence vote against Singh, a former army chief and environmentalist. Singh is also Chief Executive Officer (ag) of the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company.
According to a letter of resignation sent to Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Robert Persaud, which was released by Singh to the press, he did not want to be the reason why GGDMA would not participate in Mining Week activities.
His resignation was with immediate effect.
“I had not been informed that such a vote had taken place and now that I am aware of this, I would not wish to be the excuse for the Association’s non–participation in the Mining Week 2012 activities, and also an inhibiting factor in the much needed collaboration between the Association and the Commission and with your Ministry,” Singh said in his letter to the Minister. “The reform of the mining sector in accordance with Guyana’s national interests is far too important an objective to be distracted by the issue of my Chairmanship and Membership of the Board.”
As gold prices remain high on the world market, there has been a rush of activities to Guyana’s interior by miners. Miners have been enjoying an excellent couple of years.
But within the last few months, measures by the new Ministry have been meeting with resistance as a result of the association passing a no-confidence vote against the Minister and the Chairman.
The association had said that Singh, being an environmentalist, was acting contrary to this.
In his letter of resignation, Singh said that he has taken note of a letter sent by the GGDMA President, Patrick Harding, to the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, which threatened a non-participation of the Mining Week activities if the former army chief remained at the helm of GGMC.
According to Singh, in that letter from Harding, one of the main sticking points of the Annual General Meeting was his appointment as Chairman of the GGMC.
He said that the GGDMA letter insisted that its members voted a motion of no confidence in him and that miners have articulated a case for his removal.
“To this end, we cannot participate in any of the activities of Mining Week 2012”, the GGDMA told the Ministry earlier this week.
“As a professional who has strived to serve the interests of Guyana and all of its citizens to my utmost ability for over the past forty-eight years of my working life, it is not difficult for me to make this decision to resign from the Membership of the Board of the GGMC and as Chairman, I respectfully do so with immediate effect.”
The official said that he has already telephoned Harding and advised him of the decision and requested that GGDMA’s membership be informed “so that the way is cleared for the GGDMA to participate fully in the Mining Week 2012 and in the process of reform and development of the mining sector in the interest of all Guyanese.”
Mining Week, under the theme “Investment and Technological Growth for Sustainability in the Mining Sector” is set to be opened officially this evening by President Donald Ramotar at the National Park.
It will commence with a walk from the Bank of Guyana to the Girl Guides Pavilion, Brickdam, and will culminate on August 25 with celebrations for Pork Knocker’s Day which will be held at Golden Beach, Bartica.
Other activities include a two-day National Mining Fair starting today at the National Park Tarmac and an International Mining Opportunities Seminar to be held at the Princess Hotel, Providence.