Small miners want no ‘back stabbers’ on road to ‘good life’
Calls mount for GGMC Commissioner to be removed
Small miners, who have formed themselves into syndicates to apply for blocks of mining areas, have repeated their calls for the removal of Newell Dennison, acting Commissioner of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC).
“The government promised us a good life and we are looking forward to our good life. And as we are on our stepping stone to our good life we want no backstabbers,” said Cheryl Williams, a miner who heads the Mineral Blast syndicate which operates in the Puruni area in Region Seven.
She was speaking at a press conference by the National Mining Syndicate on Monday morning, which represents all the syndicates that have applied for blocks of land to mine. Over 1, 000 small miners have grouped themselves into various syndicates and pool their resources to work the portions of land they are granted.
Renwick Solomon, Chairman of the National Syndicate indicated that ten blocks were approved last Friday and the miners are currently mobilising to begin work. Speaking at the Press Conference, held at the offices of the Girls Guides on Brickdam, Georgetown, Solomon said the approval came at a meeting with the two ministers of the Natural Resources Ministry and senior executives of the GGMC.
“This, we believe is a big move and it’s a great development for us. We’ve been struggling with this issue with this government for the past 11 months to a year and now it has come to some form of finality,” said Solomon.
He said that while the miners are happy that they can work the lands in earnest, even as they await the processing of the necessary “papers,” they want to see a change in management at the GGMC.
“We believe as a mining community, if we have a strong leader at the GGMC who could manage the resources of this country and the mandate of the government properly, a lot would be great for the mining industry,” Solomon stated.
He declared: “So at this moment we want to say clearly and categorically (that) we have no confidence in Mr Dennison to do a proper job.”
According to the Ministry of Natural Resources, the syndicate initiative was introduced as a response to the pleas by small miners who complained of not having available lands to mine.
At a meeting held in March this year, Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman had indicated that the Ministry was mandated by the President to ensure all categories of miners – small, medium and industrial scale can participate and benefit equally from the mining sector.