Gov’t to crack down on illegal gold trading

-after decline in declarations

Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Robert Persaud (second from right in background) and others at the meeting. (Ministry of Natural Resources photo)

Gold declarations for the first part of this year have dropped compared to the corresponding period last year and government is pursuing measures to halt this decline including a crackdown on illegal gold trading entities country wide. “It must be emphasized that the closure of the (Guyana Gold Board) sub-office in Bartica should not be seen as the main reason for the lower levels of declarations that has been reported for Guyana for the comparative of the 2013 and 2014,” the Guyana Gold Board (GGB) said in a statement. In April, the GGB shuttered its Bartica sub-office and called in the police to probe allegations of tampering during the purchase of gold.

The Board urged the gold mining community to utilize the services of all licensed dealers to ensure that they can receive payments for their sales as effectively as possible.

In a separate statement, the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment said that during a meeting on Wednesday, the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) and licensed gold dealers were encouraged to support the Government’s effort to increase the gold declaration. Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Robert Persaud and Chairman of the GGB Dr. Gobind Ganga, met with GGDMA executives and licensed dealers and discussed and agreed to measures to improve the level of gold declaration.

Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Robert Persaud (second from right in background) and others at the meeting. (Ministry of Natural Resources photo)
Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Robert Persaud (second from right in background) and others at the meeting. (Ministry of Natural Resources photo)

The Ministry noted that GGB data indicates that the declaration is below that recorded for the corresponding period for 2013. Some of the measures to be pursued immediately to improve gold declaration include improving public sensitization of the gold mining regulations as stipulated by the Guyana Gold Board Act, a proactive monitoring and enforcement drive by the GGB regarding undeclared gold transactions, enhanced inter-agency coordination including law enforcement agencies and the Guyana Revenue Authority, stringent enforcement of reporting obligations by miners to be carried out by the GGMC, and a crackdown on illegal gold trading entities across the country with the assistance of the police.

The statement said that the GGDMA and the gold dealers gave their support for efforts to aid the full declaration. “The Minister emphasized that the Government of Guyana remains uncompromising in its efforts to ensure full compliance with the Laws to deal with these issues of undeclared gold and reports of smuggling,” the statement added.

Meantime, in its statement, the GGB said that it has been paying close attention to the current trends of the gold trade on the world economy and the factors that have been causing the fall in prices. “Whilst prices have fallen tremendously over the last two weeks, it is still expected that lower prices will prevail on the world market. However, it is expected that there will be a great recovery in the price of gold in the third quarter of 2014. The gold market will continue to thrive under these current pressures,” the statement said. It added that the level of operations in the gold mining industry in Guyana has not slowed down as there is an improved level of mine site tasks.

The statement said that through the operations of the GGB offices in Georgetown and Charity, all clients can ensure that their transactions are handled in an efficient manner. Despite the temporary closure of the Bartica Sub-Office, the Board has ensured that all of its clients continue to receive the benefits of the services provided at both the regional and national level, the statement said adding that the closure of the Bartica office was necessary to facility a transparent investigation by the police.

The GGB appealed to all licensed dealers to provide the services for which they have been granted licences to the gold mining community so that the level of gold trade can be improved for the overall benefit of the local economy.

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