Residents of Region Nine villages are alleging that there has been a breach of the agreement that was signed on April 24, to settle the mining dispute in the area.
The concerns were raised by residents with Minister within the Ministry of Natural Resources Simona Broomes during an outreach to the South Rupununi over the weekend. Minister Broomes was part of a ministerial team lead by Minister of Social Cohesion, Amna Ally.
Broomes told the Government Information Agency (GINA) that she met with 200 residents and the Marudi situation was a pressing matter. Broomes said that, the residents informed her that the situation had worsened since they signed an agreement to resolve the issues with Romanex Guyana Exploration Ltd.
In April, Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman initiated a mediation process among the Amerindian villages of Aishalton, Awariwaunau, Karaudanawa, Achiwuib, Shulinab, Maruranau, Shea and Potarinau, and miners and Romanex Guyana Exploration Ltd.
Following the mediation, an agreement outlining solutions to the dispute was signed among the overseas mining company, Toshaos of the Amerindian villages, the Rupununi Miners Association and the Guyana Women Miners Organisation.
Broomes told GINA that the residents alleged that signatories were in breach of the agreement. “The Amerindians are complaining that they are not benefiting anything from Marudi (mining operations),” Broomes said.
Further, the residents indicated that aside from breach in the agreement, there have been increased illicit activities such as trafficking in persons and drugs. “They have a lot of Brazilians in particular working the area and they are alleging that the Brazilians are taking the gold over the border,” Broomes said the residents revealed.
Additionally the Minister said that the residents told her that they felt “they were being used to sign the agreement and they are being bullied at the end of it.” Broomes said she will take the matter up with her senior minister Raphael Trotman.
“I’m going to convey to him so definitely we are going to have to make some kind of decision because the activity has worsened based on the people on the ground (reports),” Broomes said.