The Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners’ Association (GGDMA) says it is “condemning in the strongest possible way” the alleged extra-judicial killing, by the Guyana Police Force, of a miner in the Puruni area.
“This is the latest in a series of contemptuous actions being meted out by the Government of Guyana against the mining industry, starting even at the highest level,” the mining association said in a strongly worded statement yesterday.
The organisation called for an immediate investigation into the alleged execution of a miner who was working “legally on a legal claim”.
According to reports, Brazilian miner, Estevao Costa Marques, 29, was shot dead in a Puruni mining camp, Region Seven over the weekend, by two cops who apparently were not supposed to be there. Brought to the city, the policemen are being accused of shooting the miner from behind.
Police ranks were being accused of raiding camps and demanding gold, while reportedly checking for documents.
The GGDMA is calling on President Granger to “establish a Commission of Inquiry into the ongoing neglect, corruption, shakedown and extortion and now murder of miners at the hands of the security forces and appointed government officers”.
“The GGDMA notes the current level of impunity in which brutality and neglect is allowed to be meted out to members of the mining industry. The ongoing neglect of the backbone of the Guyanese economy has not gone unnoticed.”
According to the association, when the Minister of Finance takes to the media to “bemoan and lament” the dismal performance of the Guyanese economy, he must also address the outstanding issues under his portfolio that are negatively impacting the industry and then “look squarely in the face of his colleagues who, for the last four years, have mismanaged and neglected the industry which carried Guyana on its back. No one in the Government is doing anything to help miners, they are just applying pressure. We are demanding our respect”.
According to the miners, there seems to be no one in charge of the mining sector and the government is yet to articulate its policy on continued mining in Guyana.
“There is an increasing level of bullyism taking place and public officers are clearly operating outside the law without consequence. The most recent murder of a miner and the recent detention of a dredge sailing in the Demerara River (not dredging) by an unauthorised regional authority officer demonstrate clearly to all miners that Government does not care about miners or their families.”
GGDMA said that death, corruption and frustration are now the pillars on which the current government seems to be moulding the industry.
“For more than three years now, no major mining roads have been constructed, and many existing ones have been allowed to disintegrate to a state of impenetrability. Mining is surely on the downturn and the blame for this lies squarely at the feet of the current government.”
GGDMA said that more than three years later, the President of Guyana is still refusing to meet with the largest private sector employer in Guyana.
“We will not take it anymore,” the body warned.
Gold mining has been leading the foreign exchange earners for Guyana for the last decade.
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