Over the years, gold-rich Region Seven has been getting the rush. Hundreds of mining operations are scattered across the region with the country’s largest mining operations- Aurora Gold Mine and Troy Resources- located in the area.
However, there is a growing threat despite the closing of the country’s borders with Brazil and Venezuela.
Region Seven (Cuyuni/Mazaruni) is experiencing a significant influx of especially Venezuelans with deep worry- growing worry- over the COVID-19 threat.
According to officials, prostitution and trafficking in persons are hard to track in particularly the mining areas at this point in time where safety comes first for the authorities.
“We have been seeing an increasing presence. Fresh faces. People who were not there before. We know they are crossing the borders,” one miner who is worried said.
He would be one of few worried. With vast, difficult terrains, checks by authorities are few and far in between.
Miners stuck for months in the backdam are glad for places like the popular Puruni, a river crossing area, for a welcome break to daily toil. They throw caution to the wind with little attention to masks and washing hands.
Police visits and other checks are not denting the entertainment life.
“We even have strip tease and blatant advertising of such in these area,” this publication was told.
It would have been no big deal had it not been for COVID-19. The country has recorded 127 cases with 10 deaths.
In Region Nine, which borders with Brazil, there have been cases of COVID-19 with more than 30 persons on mandatory home isolation.
With Brazil described as a growing worry with thousands dead, Guyana’s borders too have come under scrutiny.
Guyana would be concerned as hundreds of Brazilian miners are in Guyana.
“The fact is they are moving around in Region Seven and in (other parts of) Guyana. The presence of the Brazilians is nothing new. However, they are moving back and forth across the border. They come and go as they please,” a Region Seven official said this week.
Officials like Region Nine chairman, Bryan Allicock, had expressed worry, noting the open borders with Brazil of over 1,000 miles.
The Venezuelans are said to be coming through Region One via the San Martin area to Guyana.
They then travel through the Pomeroon River and Essequibo Coast, Region Two before going to Region Seven.
“It is a cause for concern. We see them and we know somebody is allowing the movement. Somebody is facilitating in these times where COVID-19 measures are not being respected,” a policeman disclosed.
It is estimated that the Region Seven area alone has over 2,000 Venezuelans working, not only in mining but in bars and shops too… places that are easy to transmit the Coronavirus.
Guyana has been taking a soft stance on Venezuelans who have fallen on hard times with their country in economic and political turmoil.
Guyana has been allowing them in.
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