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Measures against persons arrested at KNP was “draconian”-Jagdeo; Gov’t wants to meet Dredge owners

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Though the Government has taken a decision to not pursue charges against the over 20 persons who were arrested for illegal mining at the Kaieteur National Park, Minster of State, Joseph Harmon has issued a call for the perpetrators to engage the authorities.

It has been noted that of the persons arrested on Sunday (May 28, 2017), there were no dredge owners as it is reported that the dredge owners were not present during the time of the raid.

“I am making a public call for those operators, those dredge owners, those dredge managers to come into us. Let us talk to you because clearly that is not the way to go. If there is an issue with mining areas and so on, discuss it with GGMC” Harmon said during a Press Conference on Friday (June 02, 2017).

On the other hand, Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo believes that there should have been a better approach to the matter.

He believes that the action taken was draconian.

“We recognized the right of free passage, we recognized that Amerindian communities had the right to hunt and to fish and to gather and to use these parks and their resources for subsistence activity, even cutting log (not on a commercial basis), and so we did not have to resort to this callous unconscionable act of arresting Amerindian people, women, children, everybody and drag them to the city…we could have kept the integrity of the park as we did in the past without taking these draconian actions against people” Jagdeo outlined.

The Government affirms that the Park has been designated a Protected Area and will remain off limits to mining, forest-harvesting and other related activities.

Further, it has been determined that the pre-1999 boundaries for the Kaieteur National Park will not be restored as some have advocated.

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