The Minister of Natural Resources will only make pronouncements on the basis of information provided by reliable, competent authorities

Dear Editor,

The article entitled, ‘Ramjattan flays gov’t over gold heist probe,’ which appeared in the Monday, January 7, 2013 edition of Stabroek News is very misleading. The Government of Guyana through the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment and its relevant agencies, the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) and the Guyana Gold Board (GGB), all have a mandated right and responsibility over the workings of the gold sector of the Guyana economy.

The Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment will only act and make pronouncements on information that is provided to him by reliable and competent authorities. Therefore, if there are any persons, including Mr Ramjattan, who possess additional information on the current Curaçao matter, then they have a responsibility to provide these to the relevant authorities to aid in the investigation.

It is the policy of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment and all relevant agencies to report accurate and responsible information for public consumption. Moreover, regarding this matter, there are certain facts that should be emphasized and ought not to be misrepresented:

1.  The Guyana Gold Board has not issued any licence or given any permission to any individual(s) or businesses to export gold to Curaçao in 2012.
2.  The Guyana Gold Board has not received any reports of any lost or missing gold output from any of the local licensed gold dealers/exporters.
3.  In addition to the information being sought via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the matter, an investigation team which was set up by the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment visited Curaçao and met with a number of agencies from which the relevant information and documentation were requested. The team is still awaiting the requested files.

Thus, the Minister of Natural Resources and the Environmen’s pronouncements are based upon the aforementioned facts at this time, although this can be changed with new and established evidence. Therefore, it would be reckless and irresponsible for the Minister or any agency to make any announcements on the basis of rumour and speculation.

Hence, Mr Ramjattan would certainly appreciate the efforts by the Government of Guyana and recognize that the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment and in particular the Guyana Gold Board will not use information which is erratic  in its decisions on this matter and which can adversely impact the local gold industry.
Yours faithfully,
Anantram Balram
General Manager (ag)
Guyana Gold Board

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