I recently visited the mining villages of Kamarang and Jawalla and after a lengthy discussion with the Toshao (village captain) of Jawalla I feel that their story ought to be known.
Firstly: The ownership of the land in these villages is in dispute. There is an on going court battle to determine whether the area is owned by the Government or the Amerindians. My view is how in tarnation can the government lay claim to lands owned and occupied by the natives for well over one hundred years? But, this government is capable of anything.
Secondly: Any contract to mine (dredge) in the village of Jawalla has to have the blessings of the Village Council. How then, or why are contractors going into that village with permits from whoever (Geology and Mines or the Ministry of Natural Resources) when the ownership of the land is in dispute.
Thirdly: Dredging was confined to land only because it is no secret that the people of the upper Mazaruni depend on the water of the Mazaruni for everything…cooking, washing , drinking, etc. And water dredging will pollute the water.
Let me now ask the Honourable Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, why is it that persons are allowed to dredge in the village of Jawalla and also why are they allowed to do water dredging. How can the tiny village be so sold out to the bully tactic of this Government?? It is also know that the village Toshaos have great a difficulty getting the attention of Government in the area of water dredging in the Upper Mazaruni. I hope that from here on proper action will be taken.
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