The Ministry of Natural Resources says the scathing criticisms by the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miner’s Association (GGDMA) about the Government’s failure to address concerns of miners are “misguided and inflammatory.”
The Ministry, headed by Raphael Trotman, made it clear that if the GGDMA wants to be respected then it first has to give it.
“Respect begets respect and if respect is demanded, it first has to be given and be deserving.”
The ministry promised that the gold and diamond sector will not be left behind with the onset of the oil and gas industry.
The GGDMA on Wednesday last criticised the Government for what it says is the “ongoing neglect, corruption, shakedown and extortion and now murder of miners at the hands of the security forces and appointed government officers.”
“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.
In response, the Natural Resources Ministry on Saturday night noted that the purported failure of Government to address the concerns of the industry is “farthest from the truth.”
The statement alluded to incentives provided to the industry for fuel and spares, granting of duty free concessions, assisting with the establishment of the National Mining Syndicate and the provision of mining lands.
The Ministry further noted that Cabinet is considering a proposal raised by the GGDMA during a meeting held on June 20, 2018 when it met with the various mining bodies.
The Ministry “takes issue” with Miner’s body claims of being disrespected, noting that it endeavours to treat respectfully, all persons, group and organisations in its interfaces.
It also called on the Association to decide “whether it is a political pressure group and a body representing the interests of an elite group, or a partner in national development.”
The Government said it appreciates the nervousness of some miners that the emerging green economy and imminent oil production will displace their standing.
However, it assured that “the gold mining industry will remain an indelible feature of Guyana’s economy and culture.”
The GGDMA had also called for a Commission of Inquiry into the killing of a Brazilian gold miner in Puruni, Region 7, recently, allegedly by the hands of local police. The incident was considered an “extra-judicial killing,” by the Association.
The Ministry condemned the killing of the Brazilian Miner and with the Police Constable charged last week, noted that it expects there will be an expeditious and fair hearing to determine all of the relevant facts in the matter and that justice will be served.