The Amerindians are mining illegally at Chinese Landing

Dear Editor,

I refer to an article titled ‘Chinese Landing Amerindians in epic battle for mining access’ in Stabroek News of 3 August 2013.

The first concern is the total disrespect and disregard for the rule of law in Guyana by the Amerindians. The Amerindians, who are not holders of mining permits, say that they will disobey the 10 cease work orders to stop their illegal gold mining.

Secondly, the Amerindians who claim to be “poor” admit to having 14 four-inch dredges operating. These dredges are worth approximately $24,000,000. This is a privilege denied to most Guyanese who cannot afford so many dredges. The Amerindians cannot produce any receipts of royalties paid to the Gold Board.

Thirdly, despite the fact that it is unlawful for the Amerindians to take gold from lands subject to mining permits, they shamelessly also admit that they have given permission to other persons to mine. They do this although they have never produced a title showing that they have a right to the gold.  The fact that the Amerindians have 14 dredges operating (in the past they had up to 40 dredges working and they still have many dredges not registered with GGMC) shows how ineffective and or unwilling GGMC has been to enforce compliance of the mining laws. It is interesting to note that the Amerindians report that “GGMC told them that they were compelled to issue the CWOs” only because a contempt order has been filed.

The Amerindians resumed their illegal mining activities and production of gold as soon as the two GGMC wardens left the area. Since no gold has been declared to the Guyana Gold Board from the 14 and more dredges for the past three years and more, we trust that GGMC will now take effective action to stop the illegal mining and production of gold, to make all the dredge owners account for the gold already removed, to enquire into the whereabouts of the gold illegally produced for the past 3 years and to pay royalties. The Amerindians have already caused much damage to the area and are also causing much environmental damage.

With regard to the defamatory statements published in the said article under reply, that “the life of the people of Chinese Landing has been one of exploitation, intimidation, abuse and total contempt brought about by the miner and some associated with him,” this is denied. I have always recognised the rights of the Amerindians, given them substantial benefits and paid them and the Gold Board royalties on the gold produced.

Yours faithfully,
Wayne Vieira

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