Norway team ‘horrified’ at bauxite mining in pilot village Muritaro

– gov’t shut down operations, committee hears

A private bauxite mining operation in the Amerindian community of Muritaro on the Demerara River, discovered by members of a “horrified” team from Norway, was shut down by the Ministry of Natural Resources late last year, since the community was one identified to benefit from the Guyana-Norway forest protection scheme.

This revelation came from Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Raphael Trotman yesterday, in response to questions from Pauline Sukhai, a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources. It was the first public disclosure by the government of this occurrence.

Sukhai had been under the impression that there was an agreement between the community and the Bosai bauxite company and she questioned whether this was put on hold, since the residents had complained that the “government has stopped the agreement…”

Trotman explained that it was discovered that there was some activity late last year and it was stopped since under the agreement with Norway the village was identified as one where no mining would take place and it would benefit from this.

He said a Norwegian delegation visited Guyana and was “horrified” to find that mining was taking place in the community, since they were told under the previous administration that the village was set apart.

“Unknown to the GGMC (Guyana Geology and Mines Commission) someone seemed to have permitted some mining and it did cause some embarrassment, because as I said the Government of Norway was very concerned… over the last two or three years the village had been earmarked as one that would receive benefits from the GRIF (Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund)…,” the minister said.

According to the minister, Secretary to Bosai, Norman McLean had written a letter in protest.

Sukhai then wanted to know why Amerindian communities are being treated differently when the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) is not to “stop mining but to do mining in a sustainable way nationally.

“Why is there a condition on an Amerindian community particularly earmarked for one of the pilot monitoring? …One can probably use a community where mining, forestry and agriculture is taking place in a sustainable manner. It is an ideal pilot that can be studied, used as an experiment on how it could happen within a particular location,” she added.

Trotman said the comments are noted and some of the same arguments were advanced to the delegation from Norway, but what was of great concern was that no permit had been sought and obtained for the Muritaro operation.

“Trees were thrown down. When the team from Norway got there, there was a big bonfire…” the minister said revealing that it was done by a local contractor who entered into a private agreement with some villagers and was then selling to some officials at Bosai even though all of the officials at the company were aware that this was taking place.

“So it caused some embarrassment to Bosai; it caused some embarrassment to some members of the village but we are working to have this regularised,” the minister said.

In January of this year the government advertised for consultancy services for a finalised opt-in mechanism for indigenous communities wishing to benefit from the Guyana-Norway forest protection scheme. The advertisement had said that the Demerara River community of Muritaro would be used for the pilot study, as it had been identified by the National Toshaos Council.

The move to finalise the opt-in mechanism comes as the five-year agreement between Georgetown and Oslo has expired though there is likely to be a new agreement. The opt-in mechanism had seen prolonged delays over the need for consultation within indigenous communities. Finalising an opt-in mechanism is one of the requirements for the payment of the final tranche under the Guyana-Norway agreement.

Comments  

Albion man killed in robbery on Freeman St, two brothers injured

A family’s preparation for a memorial service ended tragically early yesterday morning when bandits stormed into their home in  East La Penitence and discharged several rounds, fatally wounding a man and injuring two of his brothers.

Trinis rescued in Dominica after living in car for four days

(Trinidad Express) The Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force and Coast Guard have been at the helm of a dramatic rescue of a family of four, including two small children, who lived in a car for four days after their home in Dominica was destroyed last Monday by Hurricane Maria.

Two men likely for court today over murder of Berbice boy

The two East Bank Berbice men who were taken into custody in relation to the murder of 13-year-old Leonard Archibald are expected to be placed before the court today.

City Hall to launch Mobile Money option for payment of rates and taxes

Residents of Georgetown will by the end of October, 2017, be able to pay their rates and taxes using the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph’s Mobile Money Guyana (MMG) application.

A&A catering for Cuban buyers’ transport, accommodation

In a back lot just off the ever-bustling Regent Street, easily hidden by the clothing stores and snackette that dominate in the forefront, is A&A, a transportation and accommodation service that caters solely to Cuban visitors.

By ,

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly.

We built stabroeknews.com using new technology. This makes our website faster, more feature rich and easier to use for 95% of our readers.
Unfortunately, your browser does not support some of these technologies. Click the button below and choose a modern browser to receive our intended user experience.

Update my browser now

×