Dec 05, 2015 News
The country’s top mining body has pulled its support for the current Chairman of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) with a no-confidence motion fizzling yesterday during a Director’s meeting.
The falling out would come amid a number of burning issues and the unhappiness by the Guyana Gold and Diamond and Miners’ Association (GGDMA), as well as shocking details published this week regarding Clinton Williams, the Chairman.
GGMC’s Secretary to the Board of Directors, Jacques Foster, was written to yesterday by the association on the pulling of the two representatives from a planned Board of Directors’ meeting.
GGDMA said that it has taken the decision that its representatives on the Board shall take no part in meetings chaired by Williams.
“This decision by the Committee of Management of the GGDMA is as a result of our position in supporting a vote of no confidence in Mr. Clinton Williams as Chairman of the Board, GGMC,” the letter said.
It was copied to Minister of Governance, Raphael Trotman, and Terrence Adams, GGDMA’s President.
During yesterday’s meeting of the Directors, minus the two representatives of the Miners’ Association, a move by a Director to bring a no-confidence vote proved futile with the Board reportedly standing behind Williams.
The official came under fire this week after audit documents revealed that as Chairman, Williams’ entertainment bill came up to $4M within an 18 month period.
A top executive in the private sector, Williams was appointed as Chairman in January last year. The new administration, in late October, extended the Board’s life and his appointment to December 31st.
GGMC is facing deep problems since Williams and a number of other Directors successfully moved a vote of no-confidence last month against Commissioner Rickford Vieira; Manager of the Mines Division, Derek Babb; Manager of the Geological Services Division, Jimmy Reece; and Manager of the Land Management Division, Donald Singh.
The “No Confidence” motion was passed by a majority vote of 5-2 with Director Tom Dalgety and Commissioner (Ag), Mr. Newell Dennison strenuously objecting and voting against the motion. Director Unata DeFrietas abstained from voting.
There have been ongoing questions in recent years over the allocation of mining lands and managing of the natural resources sector, minus forestry, by GGMC.
Vieira was sent on administrative leave this week.
In the midst of it came revelations that Williams spent almost $4M in three city restaurants over an 18-month period.
Most of the money was spent last year at the Silhouette Restaurant (JR Enterprise) in Kitty; 704 Sports Bar on Lamaha Street and Brasil Churrascari and Pizzaria, Alexander Street, Lacytown.
The figures raised eyebrows.
In explosive revelations also this week, it was disclosed that the Chairman and the Board last year approved eight blocks of mining lands to Ivor English.
English is said to be a close friend and neighbor of Williams on the East Bank of Demerara.
However, English named the GGMC’s Chairman as his Power of Attorney for the mining lands.
The issue would raise questions about a possible conflict of interest situation as it was Williams and the Board which in the first place approved the lands.
Attempts to elicit a comment from Minister Raphael Trotman who has responsibilities for the mining sector, proved futile yesterday.
With the attention on the gold mining sector and the emerging oil industry increasing in recent years, the new administration had vowed reforms to improve safety, recovery rates, security and reduce corruption.
Gold especially has been a big earner for the country.
Two new large scale players- Guyana Goldfields Inc. and Troy Resources- have been helping to push production up, after a major slump in declarations.
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