Sand mining to be better managed, monitored – Persaud

Minister of Natural Resources Robert Persaud yesterday announced that beginning this year, sand mining, particularly along the Linden-Soesdyke Highway area will be properly managed and monitored.

Speaking at a review on the future of sand mining with several stakeholders and sand pit operators at the Conference Room of the Splashmin’s Fun Park yesterday, Persaud noted that there has been a proliferation of sand mining activities in the area (Linden-Soesdyke High-way) but this has not been captured by the Ministry’s data.

“There needs to be proper management of sand mining in Guyana particularly along the Linden Soesdyke belt. I want to state the fault starts from our end… We would have to enhance ability and capabilities of monitoring what is taking place,” he said. “It is important that we do proper monitoring and proper tracking of what is taking place. We want to correct, this year, our ability to monitor what is taking place.”

In this regard, the minister said, efforts are being made to maintain and upkeep obligations and ensure that activities are done consistent with regulations and do better monitoring

“We plan to advertise for 25 more staff. Some will be dedicated to the areas we have not been paying enough attention to in terms of sand and other resources. [We] will be putting down scales to capture the true volume. We have already identified an area in the Timehri, Linden Soesdyke Highway where we will be able to track what is going on,” he stated.

 

Royalties

According to Persaud, many persons have been lax in paying their royalties and the ministry is looking to place more emphasis on this area. “Government [is] …being denied what belongs to the people in terms of royalties. What is the royalty? $15 per tonne; there is $132 million in outstanding royalty. Several persons have come in and we want to invite more people to come and settle. [We] don’t want to be harsh this year but people are making money and I always tell people that if you are engaged in an activity and you are not making money get out of the activity.

“Give up the resource and let someone else do it. Don’t come and complain that I am not making money so I cannot pay the royalty. It is your duty,” he said.

“We have heard the excuse given by persons that they are working on a government contract and that we must waive the royalty. GGMC has been buying that excuse and that is absolutely rubbish. There is a mechanism of waiver… People have to settle and we want to work with you.

Those who have decided that they are not coming they will hear from us to settle, we will accept whatever payment plan,” he posited.

 

Environmental management

With regard to environmental management, Persaud informed that while sand mining activities are being carried out in a way that is disruptive to the environment, the ministry is now putting in place better enforcement regulation.

“For the first time having had the EPA Act we are now putting in place enforcement, now drafting enforcement regulation activities. What we should have done 10 to 15 years ago. [We are] putting these things in place not to make life difficult for you but to ensure that activities are consistent with the laws of Guyana,” he said. “This is not President Ramotar law and Robert Persaud law and we [are not] looking to make ourselves important, but these are laws in the book that we have to comply with.”

He stressed too that one of the issues the ministry is seeking to address is to deal with persons applying for land for one purpose and then using it for another reason. “Persons have been applying for agricultural land but then later [turning] up to GGMC and saying I have this land to get a permit to engage in sand mining,” he said. “Persons were not denied land to do agriculture but persons took land under the pretext of agriculture because they thought that would have been a short-cut way and then they turn up and say I have lots of sand and I have the demand. Those are issues that we will have to address,” Persaud stated.

During the question and answer segment of the review, one miner, Raymond Alli, vociferously claimed that the GGMC is out to embarrass the ministry and that it is not in support of the ministry. He also lamented the attitude of several senior officers at the organisation.

Persaud responded that the GGMC should not be blamed for the actions of its officers. “… Any organization, any business, any family will have persons who will not toe the line or live up to the expectation. It’s a natural thing and we have the same situation in many of our agencies including the GGMC, whereby you may have officers who may be performing to the best of their ability,” he said.

Persaud also posited that there are certain laws in Guyana which GGMC must conform to, as no entity or officer exists separately “outside of the ambit of the law.”

Latest in Local News

default placeholder

Brian Tiwarie blasts Ramotar administration over specialty hospital project

Businessman Brian Tiwarie yesterday rejected claims that his company had taken possession of containers belonging to the fired Specialty Hospital contractor and he accused the Donald Ramotar administration of grossly mismanaging the project.

The Kato school

Multimillion-dollar Kato school unsafe for children

The Kato Secondary School, which was constructed at a cost over hundreds of millions of dollars, remains unoccupied because it is not safe for children, Minister of State Joseph Harmon said yesterday.

default placeholder

Repairs underway to shifting Hope Canal bridge

There is a major structural fault with the $350m bridge constructed across the Hope Canal,  East Coast Demerara, according to Minister of State Joseph Harmon, who yesterday said the structure has repeatedly shifted away from the road.

default placeholder

National Assembly approves $800m in supplementary spending

After hours of deliberations, the National Assembly last night approved almost $800 million in extra-budgetary spending including on 6000 solar panels to “green” State House and an army exercise aimed at testing the preparedness of the Guyana Defence Force which was done last year.

default placeholder

Brian Tiwarie planning to establish newspaper

Prominent businessman and owner of BK International, Brian Tiwarie, is planning to open his own newspaper company here and has started the process.

default placeholder

Probe underway into stealth flights from Ogle

An inquiry has been launched into the circumstances surrounding how two planes left Guyana illegally from the Eugene F Correia International Airport (EFCIA) last Saturday, Minister of State Joseph Harmon said yesterday.

default placeholder

Finance Minister says unsure of UG ‘emergency’ funding needs

Minister of Finance Winston Jordan has said that he is unsure of the ‘emergency’ funding the University of Guyana needs to reputedly prevent a collapse of the  institution.

default placeholder

Ministry welcomes removal from US human trafficking watch list

The Ministry of Social Protection yesterday welcomed the latest classification on Trafficking in Persons (TIP), which has seen the country coming off the watch list for TIP, that is, moving from Tier 2 on the Watch List to just Tier Two.

Comments

About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: