New GGDMA President urges miners to vote for party that supports mining

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Andron Alphonso, the new President of the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) has pledged to fight “tooth and nail” against policies that threaten to desolate the industry and he has urged miners and their families to vote at the March 02 general elections for the party that backs mining.

According to the GGDMA, an estimated 100,000 Guyanese adults are involved either directly or indirectly in the local mining industry and that could be a source of significant political influence.

“Now, if you’re looking at 100,000 people and let’s say the voting population is approximately 400,000 or thereabouts, we represent, you could say 25 to 30 per cent of the voting population.

“That equates, I think it’s 5,000 a seat – that is about 20 seats in Parliament.

“Our miners and everyone who works in our support industries represent that. We are the swing vote,” he stated at the GGDMA’s 35th Annual General Meeting on Wednesday last.

He said that the GGDMA has always been an independent body but now it wants its membership to vote on a mining agenda and think about the future of mining.

He acknowledged that there are areas in which the industry needs to improve, such as for miners to obey the law and be responsible but said miners need to support the party that will keep the industry running.

“…but this Association would never endorse any policy that we know would bring an end to our industry in no way, shape, or form,” Alphonso declared.

He said the fight for the GGDMA includes the fight to ensure that policies detrimental to the industry were not adopted.

“As your new president, I will continue to fight tooth and nail to ensure that there’s no policy or any agendas that will result in the desolation of our industry.

“We fought many dragons over the years and the reality with this industry is that even six presidents ahead of me will still have fights to fight,” he stated.

He also pledged to work for more mining incentives, including recouping some of those they had previously enjoyed.

Alphonso stated that the Association will continue to lobby for the entire sector and added that another area of focus for him will be to build consensus with sister organisations and secure a unified mining industry to boost those lobbying efforts.

Alphonso also noted that he has been the youngest member of the Association’s executive for years and said he will be working to bring more youth into the organisation.

“We need new blood, we need the next generation to step up and come to these meetings, have meaningful participation in the direction in which this Association is going. That is something that we’re definitely going to be working on, to bring that younger element into the Association.”

The other members elected to the 2019-2021 executive management committee are Vice President Hilbert Shields; Immediate Past President Adams; Secretary Azeem Baksh; Treasurer Patrick Harding; Organising Secretary Alfro Alphonso; and Committee Members Terry Singh, David Bacchus, Dabria Marcus, and Charles DaSilva.

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