Following the killing of a Brazilian gold miner in Puruni, Region 7, recently, allegedly by the hands of local police, the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miner’s Association (GGDMA) is calling on President David Granger to establish a Commission of Inquiry (COI) into the “ongoing neglect, corruption, shakedown and extortion and now murder of miners at the hands of the security forces and appointed government officers.”
A statement from the mining Association described the killing of 37-year-old Estevao Costa Marques as an “extra-judicial killing,” noting that “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 GGDMA said that the miner was working legally on a legal claim when he was shot and killed by the Police Constable.
“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. When the Minister of Finance takes to the media to bemoan and lament the dismal performance of the Guyanese economy, he must 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,” the GGDMA statement noted.
Who is in charge of the mining sector?
The Mining Association further stated that “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 demonstrates clearly to all miners that Government does not care about Miners or their families.”
The statement noted, “death, corruption and frustration are now the pillars on which the current government seems to be moulding the industry.”
According to the statement, “For more than three years now no major mining roads have been constructed and many of existing ones have been allowed to disintegrate to a state of impenetrability.
“Mining is surely on the down turn and the blame for this lies squarely at the feet of the current government. 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.”