Almost two months after sending the Head of Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) on leave,
Government yesterday announced it had terminated Vieira’s service.
The fate of Commissioner Rickford Vieira was hanging in limbo after the previous GGMC Board of Directors, headed by Clinton Williams, declared that it had lost confidence in him.
He was sent on leave by Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, in early December, pending a review of his performance.
Trotman earlier this month, said that it was likely that a decision on the Commissioner would have been made by this month end.
According to a statement of the Ministry yesterday, “After careful consideration and advice, the Ministry of Natural Resources has decided to act on the recommendation of the Board of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) and terminate the services of Rickford Vieira as Commissioner of the Commission.”
The Ministry said that it believes that the decision is the best approach at this time with a new Board of Directors of the Commission soon to be inducted.
The new Board was announced earlier this month and is to be headed by prominent city businessman, Stanley Ming.
“The new Board members have the confidence of the Ministry to charter a new course for the Commission which for years has been dogged by corruption allegations and a beleaguered public image,” the Ministry said yesterday.
“Mr. Vieira would have served the Commission for some years and the Ministry takes this opportunity
to wish him well in his future endeavours. In the interim Mr. Newell Dennison will continue to act as Commissioner of the Commission.”
GGMC, the regulator of the country’s mining sector, has been under more scrutiny in recent years as gold rose to become one of the biggest foreign currency earners for the country. It steadied to regain top spot last year.
GGMC, however, has been under pressure after it came to light that there were allocations of mining lands under questionable circumstances.
Several foreign companies as well as non-miners have reportedly been benefitting.
Members of GGMC’s Board as well as several prominent persons benefited in the last few years from prime lands with small miners insisting that the process was flawed and that GGMC has been heavily corrupt.
Vieira himself has been clashing with the previous Board of Directors.
GGMC had attempted during the last administration to transfer $3B to the Central Housing and Planning Authority for housing projects. However, the transaction was blocked after it came to light.
GGMC’s responsibilities have taken new significance, with oversight also of the emerging oil and gas industry.
Guyana last year learnt that ExxonMobil has discovered a significant deposit of oil in waters offshore Georgetown.
The country is now preparing to deal with the discovery.
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