Members of several newly formed mining syndicates today assembled at the Square of the Revolution to bring attention to issues affecting small miners.
Former Parliamentarian and Chairperson of the Karrau Mining Syndicate, Julia David-Blair says foremost among the issues is the need for an investigation into the land management department at the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission.
To this end, the Syndicates are now asking for the removal of the Head of this Department.
“We’re saying today without any reservation that it’s time for Donald Singh, the manager for the land management committee to go because there’s too much corruption in the land management section of GGMC with alternatives and with one set of people just acquiring the land” David-Bair said.
Mrs David-Blair says the Syndicates have also written to President David Granger on the Donald Singh matter but finding or being able to mine lands with proper paperwork has plagued small miners for years.
“You know you go to work and most of the landlords never want to give you a document to work so that you can hold them to a contract they just send you to work and when you go out to work there now you’re just being thrown off when you bore the gold. They wanna use us as prospectors to prospect the land and we as small miners feel that the time has long gone for us to be tugging along or eating the crumbs from the master’s table but that we should have our own land” she explained.
News Room also caught up with another small miner, Dana Jones from the Karrau Syndicate who said for years she and fellow women and small miners have been fighting for their right to earn a living and to protect victims of trafficking in persons.
Ms. Jones who identified herself as a miner from since the age of 15 says “small miners are tired of suffering and punishment.”
“I have been stripped and raped in every area you can think about concerning land issues; you go to work on people place, you pay them ‘x’ amount of money but when you bore a gold they say you in their bedroom you gotta get out. When you go to apply for land it is lost, somebody gone with it, they ain got no more area, it close, this person all the bigger fishes eating up the small ones and that’s what’s causing the mining issue in the mining industry” Jones related.
She also touched on her work with former Women Miners Organisation Executive and now Minister within the Ministry of Natural Resources, Simona Broomes in the fight against trafficking in persons.
Another miner, Desmond Pompey also expressed that hope for a break for small miners saying it’s about time that it happens.