US sanctions: Gold, diamond miners welcome gov’t commitment to investigate, prosecute smugglers

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The Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) Friday said it welcomes the recent disclosures by the US Department of Treasury, which resulted in sanctions against the Mohameds family. The GGDMA, which claimed a long-standing anti-smuggling stance, also welcomed the government’s commitment to thoroughly investigate and prosecute those involved.

The GGDMA reiterated its call for members to sell gold only to licensed dealers or the Guyana Gold Board. Highlighting the gold mining industry’s pivotal role in Guyana’s economy long before the discovery of oil, the GGDMA emphasized the sector’s resilience and dedication. The Association said all miners should not be painted as smugglers based on the actions of a few, noting that the majority of miners are law-abiding and have significantly contributed to society through their hard work.

Acknowledging the presence of smugglers within the industry, the GGDMA pledged continued support to the government in eradicating these bad actors. However, the association expressed concern over potential repercussions, such as the removal of incentives and concessions that have been crucial for the industry’s survival during tough economic times. The GGDMA warned against such “knee jerk reactions,” emphasizing that penalising the majority for the actions of a few would be irresponsible and detrimental to the industry.

The Association also highlighted the severe labor shortages plaguing the sector, which have led to reduced production levels for legitimate operators. Consequently, the overall gold production from miners selling through legitimate channels has significantly declined. The GGDMA stressed that benefits to compliant organizations should not be withdrawn.

The Association encouraged all miners to sell their gold to the Guyana Gold Board or licensed dealers and to maintain proper documentation and periodic statements of their transactions. This verification is crucial for ensuring accurate tax payments and proper accounting of gold transactions, the GGDMA stated.

 

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