Jan 31, 2013 News Comments Off on Soldiers not authorized to inspect mining camps – Commodore Best
No member of the Guyana Defence Force has the authority to inspect any mining licenses or to intermeddle into any mining activities once they are not accompanied by an official of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission.
This was announced by Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force and Chairman of the Joint Services Coordinating Council, Commodore Gary Best, as the army continues its investigations into allegations that a ganja-smoking group of soldiers raided gold mining camps in the Cuyuni and seized a quantity of the precious metal.
“…Members of the mining community must not submit themselves to any actions by officers and soldiers of the Guyana Defence Force acting alone with respect to enforcement of laws governing mining in Guyana,” the Chief of Staff stated in a notice to miners that is published in the daily newspaper.
According to Commodore Best, “No Guyana Police Force Officer or Guyana Defence Force Officer or soldier is authorised to enforce the mining laws of the country either together or with other members of the respective Forces or separately WITHOUT the presence of a GGMC Mining Officer.”
He made it clear that the Joint Services stand ready to work with the mining community to make their operational environment safe and peaceful.
To this end, it is imperative that information on all illegal activities be transmitted confidentially to the highest of offices within the Joint Services for immediate action.
He commended the efforts of some miners who came forward and reported illegal activities and expressed the hope that other miners will do the same.
“With regards to the alleged illegal conduct of members of the Guyana Defence Force, anyone and everyone found culpable will face the full force of the law,” Commodore Best reiterated.
GDF medical personnel are currently carrying out tests on ranks at Eteringbang to determine if they are indeed using narcotics as was claimed by one miner who witnessed the incident.
It is alleged that on Friday last, five heavily armed soldiers went into a Cuyuni mining district at an area called Devil’s Hole, where they relieved a group of Brazilian miners of raw gold after getting high on the marijuana they had seized earlier from drug pushers on the nearby Julian Ross Landing.
According to Commodore Best, preliminary investigations seem to suggest that some ranks had left the base without the proper authority.
He however cautioned that it was too early to determine if the ranks, who were off the base, were indeed at the location where the alleged incident took place.
“We can’t conclude as yet that our men committed the act but by tomorrow (Wednesday) we will know,” he said.
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