Governance Minister, Raphael Trotman, said yesterday, that the recent allegations of corruption leveled
against Commissioner of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), Rickford Vieira, and GGMC Chairman, Clinton Williams, underscore the sorry state of the mining sector.
During a press conference which was held at the Ministry of the Presidency, Trotman asked if he has made any decision regarding Vieira did not offer many details. He said that the matter is still being reviewed by the board.
Trotman holds some responsibility for the mining sector. Vieira was recently sent on administrative leave pending an investigation.
The decision for the Commissioner to be sent on leave was based on a GGMC Board declaration of “no confidence” in his ability to carry out his duties.
The Governance Minister, asked to provide his take on Williams’s future with the GGMC board especially when one takes the recent revelations by the media into account, said, “I think what we see playing out in the media confirms everyone’s belief that the regulation of mining in Guyana is in a terrible state. There is no denying that and steps have to be taken to clean it up if we are to move forward on a healthy footing.”
Trotman continued, “In so far as the allegations against Vieira and Williams, I will withhold any comments publically because I have seen comments and accusations against both individuals. At the end of the day the President as the responsible Minister wants mining cleaned up.
“I’m just a delegated officer. So in the interest of transparency and accountability, many of the comments we have seen thus far, are helping us to form a position. Cabinet is yet to make a determination but we are not going to pronounce for or against any of the parties involved.”
There had been criticisms that Williams, as Chairman of the Board, abused his authority to help his friend,
Ivor English, acquire eight blocks of mining lands last year.
Days before general elections in May, Williams was granted control of those mining lands via an “Irrevocable Power of Attorney” (POA). Williams was appointed in January last year as Board Chairman.
As regards the criteria for the appointment of board members, Goolsarran said that the schedule to the GGMC Act states that “The persons appointed by the Minister as members of the Commission shall be persons who, in his opinion, are qualified for appointment by reason of their experience of, and shown capacity in, matters relating to the functioning of the Commission or matters which will be advantageous to the Commission in the performance of its functions.”
It does not necessarily follow that members of the Board have to be the holders of mining permits.
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