Region Nine Villages prevent miners from accessing mining lands

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Despite being listed as an essential service, four villages in Region Nine – Shulinab, St Ignatius, Aishalton and Karaudarnau – are preventing miners from access mining lands due to concerns about the deadly coronavirus disease.

In the gazetted national emergency measures to prevent the spread of the disease, mining operations, production and processing are listed under essential services.

Regional Health Emergency Operations Committees were formed across the country to assist in the COVID-19 fight and have since enlisted the villages to do their part.

But Regional Executive Officer (REO) Carl Parker told the News Room that the villagers misunderstand their role.

“In that regards, we would have assisted in helping them set up gates, we gave them fuel so that they can do their patrols and they report to us every Wednesday, the villages I think misunderstand their role and we have to work on that,” Mr Parker said.

But according to Mr Parker, in the past couple of weeks, there have been complaints and issues with miners who are being denied access through the villages.

Regional Executive Officer, Carl Parker

“What we have decided to do is for those miners to have a letter from either the Ministry of Natural Resources or the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission, once they have that letter then I would issue them with a pass because of the distance, invariably they would have to travel through curfew hours and that pass is to enable them to travel,” the REO stated.

But the village councils are claiming that the letter and pass are not legal and are still not allowing the miners entry. As such, the REO explained that they had to seek assistance from the Guyana Police Force to escort the miners through the villages.

“I had to deal with an issue where, in spite of those letters and my pass, the villagers of Shulinab did not allow the miners to pass through,” Mr Parker said.

According to the REO, the Chairman of the Rupununi Miners Association was also denied access in Aishalton.

Meanwhile, Toshaos from the villages have lodged complaints and concerns with the Committee.

Mr Parker said these concerns will be addressed on Wednesday at a meeting.

“I understand their [villages] anxieties because their communities are among the most vulnerable and we certainly do not want COVID-19 to touch down in any of those communities it will be hard for us to contain it.”

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