Police beat illegal miners … Geology and Mines Commission joins probe
The Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) has commenced an investigation into the beating of civilians by police ranks during an operation to curb illegal mining within Marudi, Region Nine.
A release from the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment stated that Minister Robert Persaud has called for an emergency meeting of the Board of Directors for the GGMC in addition to requesting the assistance of the Commissioner of Police in investigating the allegation.
“The Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) has also been requested to provide support to the investigation. The Commission will be working closely with the Ministry of Home Affairs to investigate the confrontation and remains committed to reducing illegal mining as prescribed in the Mining Act and Regulations,” the release stated.
It explained that the Commission under operation El Dorado has been engaging in a series of activities in the various mining districts to improve its monitoring, compliance and enforcement and as such, the Guyana Police Force in keeping with standard operating procedure would accompany the GGMC to provide security and enforcement support.
Commissioner of Police Leroy Brumell said on Sunday that he has ordered an immediate investigation into the beating of civilians by some of his ranks and vowed that action would be taken. He had said that the policemen had already been identified and were expected out of the area yesterday.
Brumell was particularly concerned about reports that a child was among those assaulted.
The incident occurred on Saturday when police ranks accompanied officials from the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) to clear several illegal miners from the Marudi mining district.
A photograph published in the Sunday Kaieteur News showed a police corporal inflicting blows on civilians who were on the trail to protest their removal from the mining area. A woman and her sons were reportedly among those beaten.
An even more graphic video, posted on YouTube, shows the foul-mouthed policemen clubbing and dragging the civilians, while some of their colleagues, and other men in plainclothes, stood with guns at the ready.
Most of the blows were inflicted by a police corporal, who repeatedly shouted “get off the f—ing road” while raining blows on the civilians.
One rank is seen going into the bushes to cut and strip a branch and then using it to whip civilians. It also shows a woman and boy lying on the trail. Civilians who used their bodies to cover the boy were dragged and beaten.
The civilians are part of a group of miners who are protesting what they are calling their unlawful removal from a mining claim that is registered to a Canadian mining concern, Romanex Guyana Explorations Limited.
About 300 local miners have been operating about 22 dredges in the area for the past 10 years when the Canadian firm appeared to have neglected it.
Only last week the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment issued a statement indicating that it was reviewing the licence of Romanex Guyana Explorations Limited, after investigations revealed that the company failed to carry out exploratory works in keeping with its requirements.