A meeting was held, yesterday at the Ministry of Natural Resources between Minister of Governance, Raphael Trotman and Minister of Indigenous Affairs, Sydney Allicock. The meeting was called to tackle social problems prevalent in Amerindian Villages in which mining is practised.
These problems have been precipitated by mining activities in and near to Amerindian communities.
The Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) has often come under fire by Amerindian officials, for giving mining permits to miners to operate in rivers which run through or close to communities. Often, these mining operations lead to social and environmental issues such as prostitution, truancy, alcoholism and land erosion.
“We have to manage the tension that is arising, so that both sides are respected to ensure that we keep the tension to a minimum,” said Trotman, “From time to time there will be tensions and it’s not the GGMC’s plan to disregard Amerindian lands or rights, or to cause social disruptions.”
Trotman said that while the meeting was helpful, as both sides were able to determine their positions and identify what the crux of the problem is, the Ministers were not able to come up with a position to resolve issues that are ongoing. They have, however, agreed on the need to collaborate and exchange documents over the next week, and will soon meet again to discuss the matter further as these are pressing issues.
Trotman said that it is not on the government’s agenda to limit or stop the activity of mining in close proximity to villages as one has to look at the rights of a miner to mine.
He said that GGMC is not unmindful of the social implications since it understands the need for the protection of Amerindian lands, heritage and resources. Trotman said that as a result, the talks between the relevant parties – the GGMC will seek to establish mutually accepted solutions to the issues at hand.
Minister within the Ministry of Social Protection, Simona Broomes, has also been working with Trotman to tackle some of the issues in mining communities. Just recently, an 11-year-old was among several other girls found in a bar in Baramita.
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