Gold miners in and around the district of Mahdia in Region Eight (Potaro/Siparuni) are pleading with Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman to visit the region as they say they have myriad issues of concern to discuss.
“Since elections, miners in Mahdia are forgotten no one has been here to discuss anything about mining …we are begging Minister Trotman to come,” Sydney Matthews who is representing a group of miners told Stabroek News on Sunday.
Matthews said that although the region has seen visits from Minister in the Ministry of Social Protection, Simona Broomes and Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan, miners have not had the opportunity to voice their concerns about the sector, from a district perspective and it is why they have turned to the media.
“Ministers Broomes and Bulkan came yes but not on mining business they came for their own thing that concern their ministry so is same way we are,” he stated.
“We as miners want government to know that though they give concession on some items it sell more dear here like mats, pumps and hose and so but the big crisis is where the land is concerned. There is a big problem here with land because the last government had a lottery and that mix up and never sorted out ,then you have some blocks three, four people get papers of ownership then there are many with no lands and nuff nuff other things,” he added.
Matthews said too that a major problem was the sale of gold to dealers who refuse to give receipts to the miners and since they would have to travel long distances to sell the gold they have, they in turn have no choice but to sell as is. He explained “A lot of people buying gold in Mahdia but they don’t want to give you a receipt and if you ask they will say ‘well go sell your thing somewhere else then nah here…,” he related.
Further he explained “gold is selling at $8500 a pennyweight, if you only have two or three who will want to pay to go far to find somebody to give receipt? And people here afraid to speak out too but not me.”The miners believe that if Trotman visits he will not only have firsthand interaction with residents and hear their complaints but that it also shows that visits to the region were not only for “when a government want something from the people.”
As such he is hoping that through the media Trotman knows of their concerns and will plan a trip very soon.