Local miners continue to plead for intense police presence in the country’s interior as the issues of Traffic in Persons (TIP), robberies, murders, illegal gun sales and other matters continue to hamper their mining operations.
The miners have even complained about the collusion of mining officers and police ranks in the acceptance of bribes by persons who break the law.
In an interview with the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association’s (GGDMA) Administrative Coordinator, Colin Sparman, Kaieteur News was told that the agency continues to receive such information where persons allege that members of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission and the Guyana Police Force involve in illegal activities, but noted that no solid evidence is being provided by the complainants.
“No one comes with hard evidence,” Sparman said.
He said that while miners would allege such illegal acts by the authorities, “they do not provide any physical evidence.” He told Kaieteur News that as recent as Sunday, during a brunch with mining executives and head of the GPF, miners expressed many difficulties faced in the interior.
He said that some of the matters discussed at the meeting involved the number of murders and robberies occurring in the hinterland.
“Again the problem of illegal shops was highlighted.” Sparman said. “These shops are cover for illegal activities such as the selling of drugs, firearms and the promotion of prostitution.”
In highlighting security matters, it was noted that training for private security personnel attached to mining firms was also addressed.
In that light, the established practice which was initiated by late Commissioner Laurie Lewis seeks to foster cooperation between the security and mining agencies.
These miners, he said are the first line of defence since police presence is more or less scare in numerous parts of the interior. He agreed that in any event miners are security personnel, witness etc. to anything that occurs.
He pointed out that in several interior locations police officers operate with as much as one vehicle and these are usually all terrain vehicles (ATVs). In other cases, police officers depend on miners to take them to certain location since they do not have transportation.
Sparman said that during the informal engagement, the executive of the GGDMA met with Commissioner of Police (acting) Mr. Seelall Persaud at the Association`s Head Office to maintain the platonic bond between the two agencies. “The GGDMA has met periodically with other Commissioners in the past but this was the first meeting with Mr. Persaud.”
The meeting brought together leading miners and senior ranks of the Police to discuss pressing security issues affecting the mining industry.
He said that the GPF is currently preparing a programme to tackle crime in the interior and Senior Superintendent Courtney Ramsey is the lead officer for this programme. This programme will be presented to key stakeholders such as the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission, the Guyana Forestry Commission and other agencies with interests in the hinterland.
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