Recent decision contradicts what mining syndicates were told by ministers

Dear Editor,

The Toroparu Mining and Development Consortium is made up of a group of  small individual miners in Toroparu, Upper Mazaruni, Region Seven, who have been unable to work their dredges for the past two to three years for various reasons. In answer to the government’s call for small individual miners to come together, form syndicates and apply for available land for gold mining purposes, the said syndicate was formed in March of this year.

In June this year the group met with Minister Raphael Trotman who stated at that meeting that the lands to be allocated to syndicates are in the closed areas; that upon completion of research and confirmation that the prospective land is available, application should be made to the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission. The aforementioned was done by the syndicate and application and payment were made on June 21, 2017 for 29 blocks in the designated closed area.

On submission of the application we were informed that based on the rules governing syndicates the first allotment will be for 10 blocks and a year after the remainder will be granted after review of the operations. From then to now three applications have been submitted and we are now informed that the lands applied for are currently occupied and that approval was granted based on special orders from higher up.

Upon investigation we have found that Mr Serata Phillips is now in possession of these blocks. What is troubling is that at meetings with both Ministers Trotman and Broomes it was stated that no one or two persons would be granted approval and access to such lands since closed areas were reserved for syndicates only. In December 2016, Minister Trotman stated at Mahdia while addressing the syndicate formed there that “rather than dealing with individuals it’s best if you come as a group, you get land as a group and you look out for each other.”

The recent revelation contradicts the initiative, the process and the expectations of syndicates. Over 450 persons will be affected by this decision. The members of the Toroparu Mining and Development Consortium have felt betrayed by such a move and call upon President Granger’s intervention to have the decision rescinded in the interest of the small miners who have heeded his call and whose sole interest is to participate meaningfully in our country’s development and in enhancing the lives and well-being of our families.

Yours faithfully,

Melanie Tamara Beharry

Chief Executive Officer

Toroparu Mining and Development Consortium

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