Today, Minister within the Ministry of Natural Resources Simona Broomes assured small miners that the syndicate initiative does not seek to benefit one person.
Minister within the Ministry of Natural Resources Simona Broomes addressing miners in Mahdia
Miners from in and around Mahdia, Region Eight met with the Minister to raise their concerns and receive clarification on the syndicate initiative.
There was mistrust among some miners over the potential for the executive of the syndicate to take advantage of other miners in the group. However, Minister Broomes explained that the syndicate will be governed by strict guidelines that they will have to follow.
“This land belongs to a syndicate. It will be the property of the syndicate,” Minister Broomes told miners. The Minister cautioned miners they themselves could be the biggest challenge in preventing the success of the syndicate if they cannot put aside differences and work together.
Mahdia has two syndicates, one for miners in central Mahdia and one in the Konawaruk community. The mining community was the first to be allocated lands under the syndicate project for which Minister Broomes has lead responsibility.
Minister Broomes told the miners that the syndicate should set the standard for mining in the industry. “Safety will be high on the agenda for syndicates,” Minister Broomes said.
Miners were also warned that trafficking in persons and other illegal activities will not be tolerated within syndicates. “You’ve got to start doing things in an orderly fashion,” Minister Broomes told miners.
Meanwhile, several miners raised their discontent over the services offered by the Guyana Geology and Mines
Vincent Xavier, miner
Commission (GGMC). More than one miner complained about having to travel to Georgetown to do business with the regulatory body despite having a GGMC office in Mahdia.
One miner Vincent Xavier, complained about having to travel Georgetown to obtain dredge licences among other issues relating to business with GGMC.
The miner recommended the local mines office have forms available to grant miners their licences and other necessary documents like privileges for working in the backdams. “It costs a lot of money… to go to Georgetown then come back here and do my transaction is heartrending Minister,” Xavier lamented.
Minister Broomes acknowledged that it is unacceptable that miners have to travel to Georgetown to conduct business with GGMC when some districts are connected via telecommunications and ICT linkages.
The Minister pledged to follow up on the issues raised by miners.