Video of Russian assaulting Guyanese miner sparks investigations
A clip lasting more than three minutes showing a Russian National holding a Guyanese miner in a chokehold has sparked an investigation at the levels of the ministries of Labour, Natural Resources and Home Affairs.
Addressing the issue on Monday, Labour Minister Joseph Hamilton explained that the Russian National is attached to Innovative Mining Incorporated as a security guard.
The mining operation, a joint venture between the Russians and Guyanese, is located in Region Seven (Cuyuni Mazaruni).
The Labour Minister explained that the issue reportedly stemmed from allegations that the man seen being assaulted in the video was smuggling gold out of the mining camp.
“One of the employees, was apparently seeking to smuggle gold out of this mining site and that is the issue that created this altercation, as I understand it,” the Minister said.
The News Room understands the employee, a cook, was exiting the compound and was asked to subject himself to a search, as is the practice at the site. The News Room further understands that someone had tipped off security that the cook was smuggling gold, which was found in a bottle of what appeared to be skin cream. The gold was later melted and weighed 11.3 grammes.
The apparent altercation took place when the cook reportedly refused to be searched.
According to Hamilton, the very Russian implicated in the video was involved in a similar incident, where a miner was shot a few weeks ago.
Further, the Labour Minister disclosed that his Ministry had received a slew of complaints against the company regarding the breaching of labour laws.
“Even before this video, graphic evidence of this kind of confrontation surfaced. I received complaints about the company – issues about not paying overtime, issues about leave, workers not being given leave, and those kinds of issues – and then came this.”
Added to that, the Minister said too that a secondary investigation has been launched to ascertain who is conducting operations at the mining site.
He explained to the News Room that foreigners are only granted licences for “large scale mining concessions” not medium or small scale, hence it is odd that Russian Nationals are involved.
A meeting has been summoned with the heads of the company slated for Wednesday.