Minister of Governance Raphael Trotman has ordered Commissioner of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) Rickford Vieira to proceed on leave with immediate effect.
Sources told Stabroek News that this was communicated to Vieira via a letter which he received when he turned up to work yesterday.
This newspaper understands that the letter was signed by Trotman and no reason was given for the move.
Trotman has responsibility for the natural resources sector under which the GGMC falls. Attempts to contact him were futile yesterday. Trotman has not been available to Stabroek News over the past several days and over the past two weeks, he has declined to answer questions sent to him by this newspaper.
Stabroek News reported yesterday that Vieira was among four senior GGMC officials who are facing dismissal and Chairman of the GGMC Board Clinton Williams has said some decisions were being contemplated.
“There have been some inquiries that have been occurring within the commission… based upon those inquiries and the systems review, there has been some decisions that are being contemplated,” Williams had told Stabroek News.
He said that it is up to government to decide what will happen based on the outcome of the inquiries.
“There’s been one concerning morality, there’s been a systems review, there are a number of inquiries that were held and the government will have to make a decision on the way forward,” he had said.
Williams, when pressed, was tightlipped on any dismissals. “The government has asked us, the board, to look into these inquiries, to the reports that were made and that’s where it is,” he said, while adding that when or if anything happens a press release will be issued.
Stabroek News reported earlier this year that a GGMC Management and Systems Review undertaken in February had pointed to “evidence of outrageous irregularities” in the mining sector, including a “tendency towards landlordism,” which the report said “has taken over the mining industry.” The report had called on the GGMC to tackle the reform of the law to treat with what it said was “the growing menace of landlordism and non-beneficiary occupancy,” which was strangling the potential growth of the mining sector.
The review had also said that numerous absences from meetings of the Board of Directors of the GGMC may have led to many matters remaining unresolved and it called into question the competence of the Board.
“The competence and commitment of the Board, as reflected through the numerous absences of its members must come in for some scrutiny as potential causative reasons for the large number of matters which remain outstanding and the manner of treatment of some matters,” said the report, which was authored by Dr Grantley Walrond, L. Heesterman and J. Goolsarran.
The current Board’s tenure will expire on the 31st of this month and observers have questioned the move for dismissals at this time.
Employees of the GGMC have said that they have complained to the Board about matters and have sought assistance to have measures implemented to make for running of the autonomous body smooth, “all without any help up to now.”
“When you hear these things you always know that the outcome will be the person at the bottom feeling the squeeze while the boys on the Board try to save (themselves). Hearing that a shake-up, turn around, whatever you want to call looms doesn’t surprise me at all. But when the issues are thoroughly analysed, the public will see,” one employee said.