Former Natural Resources Minister under the PPP/C administration, Robert Persaud yesterday said that there was never any contemplation of mining in the Kaieteur National Park.
The question of mining in the park has come up in recent days with the arrest of nearly two dozen persons from the Region Eight village of Chenapau on Sunday.
In a post on his Facebook page yesterday, Persaud said:
“I have exercised restraint on commenting on some contentious matters in the public domain given my extant political sabbatical. However, the current controversy/allegations of illegal mining in the declared Kaieteur National Park area demand a brief, unsolicited interjection. As the subject minister who successfully piloted the Guyana Protected Areas Bill in July 2011 and subsequently oversaw the establishment of the Protected Areas Commission, it’s important for all to reflect on the intent, spirit and purpose of law that included the Kaieteur National Park as part of the National Protected Areas System.
“There was no contemplation of gold and diamond mining in the Park area. A plan was developed, after consultations, for a wide-range of alternative economic activities for the associated/affected population. Any attempt at mining in declared protected areas has always been resisted given its inherent incompatibility with a declared protected area. I recall a move by certain interests to have some type of gold mining in the Iwokrama area which was instantly and outrightly rejected. I encourage all to reflect on the Protected Areas Act and be reminded of its objectives in an effort to have a sober and objective discourse and debate on the matter.”
Persaud migrated following the 2015 general elections.