New River Triangle permission should be reviewed

Dear Editor,

Since it came to light that Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Robert Persaud gave permission to Muri Brasil Ventures Inc permission to survey for minerals in the New River Triangle, Guyanese of all professions and persuasions have reacted with concern.

According to the agreement with Muri (a mining company), the Brazilians are permitted to survey some 2.2 million acres of land for rare earths and other minerals. The part of the area borders Brazil, and the whole of it is environmentally sensitive.

The permission undertakes to grant up to 18 prospecting licences to the company should it apply and if it meets certain standard conditions.

It was later revealed that Minister Persaud may have misled the Parliamentary Committee of Natural Resources, by omitting to mention the agreement while stating that no mining is going on in the area.

It came to light that a director of the company, Mr Yucatan Reis appeared on stage with the Brazilian Governor of Roraima at a PPP/C rally in Lethem, in November, 2011.

These revelations have caused concern among security experts, who say that allowing a company to set up shop in this area, is tantamount to giving up Guyana’s territory to Brazil. And 2.2 million acres is some 4% of Guyana’s land area. Attempts by the PPP/C administration and the company to quiet the public outcry have revealed more alarming facts. It came to light that the  company intended to build an airstrip in the New River Triangle to facilitate their operations.

Politicians and others are concerned about the ethics of granting such permission to a company that has a director who openly campaigned for the PPP/C before the last general elections. Was this deal made as payback for political support?

Head of the Guyana Women Miners Organisation, Simona Broomes, expressed concern echoing the sentiments of other Guyanese miners.  Ms Broomes said that local miners are often told that areas are closed off and it seems that only a select few are able to get prospecting licences.

She said that small miners end up having to lease land from large miners.

Officials in the PPP/C may claim that this deal was not secret, that the agreement was advertised. However, I submit that a deal with a company involving 4% of Guyana’s territory should be publicised in the most open manner. Moreover, such deals should be scrutinised by the Guyana Defence Force, the people’s parliamentary representatives, the GGMC, environmental experts, policy experts, local mining associations and the public, before being finalised.

A minister of government should not be granting such permissions on his own.

Given the concerns expressed by so many Guyanese of all areas of expertise and experience, I believe that the permission must be reviewed. Additionally, the officials involved should be investigated for improper conduct.

Given that a minister of government apparently acted with such disregard for the interests of the citizens of Guyana, perhaps the minister should consider resigning his post. In any event, the President needs to act to protect our territory, our interests, our minerals and our citizens.


Yours faithfully,
Mark DaCosta

Latest in Letters

default placeholder

What is the Education Service coming to?

Dear Editor,   In SN of June 22 and KN of June 24, I note two versions of a letter by Mr Leon Suseran, “Graduate Senior Assistant Master, Vrymans Erven High School”. 

default placeholder

There should be a fund for the family in the tree accident

Dear Editor, The heart-wrenching story of the horrible tree-felling accident, where the little dying child calls for “Mama” must have stirred others in some way.

default placeholder

The city council needs to install parking meters to raise money

Dear Editor, We continue to be amazed by the many different stories which are being peddled in certain sections of the media and other places about the installation and operation of parking meters in the city.

default placeholder

It is time the Mayor, Town Clerk, Finance Committee Chairman stop the authoritarianism

Dear Editor, The Youth For Local Government (YFLG) is appalled by the actions and statements coming from the Georgetown municipality, mainly the utterances of the Mayor, Councillor Oscar Clarke and the Town Clerk on the parking meter fiasco.

default placeholder

Statistics do not support the view that abolition of the death penalty does not affect the murder rate

Dear Editor, In societies all over the world when the murder rate is deemed uncomfortably high citizens engage in fierce discourse on the merits and demerits of the death penalty; Guyana has been no different.

default placeholder

Jagan was prepared to offer vice-presidencies to Thomas and Tennassee

Dear Editor,   I noticed that there is debate about the offer of a ministerial position to distinguished Professor Dr Clive Thomas by Dr Jagan.

default placeholder

Is the talk of social cohesion just rhetoric?

Dear Editor, I have a serious question for Guyanese, especially the current Government of Guyana (the APNU+AFC). What exactly is social cohesion and what measurable criteria need to be met for this to be achieved?

default placeholder

The EU will not be the same without Britain

Dear Editor, The British people have voted to exit the European Union after 43 years of membership. This is indeed a historic development which can have far reaching consequences not only for the people of Britain, but for the whole of Europe.


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: