Chairman Gabriel Lall has announced plans to upgrade the information technology system of the Guyana Gold Board (GGB) to improve efficiency and prevent the leakage of private information, which remains an issue.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I’ll look you in the eye and tell you that I suspect that we have information leaks and it is not comforting. I would like to tell you that we have it under control right now but I don’t know that we can safely say that,” Lall said, while giving an update on the GGB’s plans for the year to a gathering of gold miners at the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners’ Association (GGDMA) Georgetown headquarters on Thursday.
Lall also noted that some measures have been taken to address the situation but added that more still needs to be done, which includes the upgrading of their current systems.
“We have brought in some people. We are bringing in people from the [United Kingdom] and we have already signed contracts. We are going to look at it and let them tell us what are the loopholes to bring that comfort level that we are doing right with you and your information in terms of protection, security and timeliness,” Lall pointed out.
As a result, Lall indicated that they have to spend “tens of millions to enhance, to refurbish, to reengineer, overhaul our entire technology platform.” He said that the current systems are too slow, which results in persons coming to the Gold Board to conduct business and having to wait long periods, which he personally does not like.
Another part of their technology upgrading plans will be a partnership with Digicel to enable miners to access and submit certain information via their mobile phones.
“It’s a costly undertaking but we are hoping to have it and we have promised to have it, where he can register, create an application and he can send it back to us,” Lall noted, while stating that the purpose of the partnership is to keep abreast with technology, in which he admitted they have been lagging behind.
Lall also stated that the new measures to be put in place fall in line with plans for this year, which will focus on improving the technology and the treatment of miners when they conduct their business with the GGB.
“Everything we do this year as part of our plan is spending money, enhancing systems, enhancing the quality of what we deliver to you,” he added, while indicating that they hope to complete most of their plans by the second quarter of the year and the rest by the end.
Lall admitted that the upgrading of the technology will be expensive but noted that it is needed. He emphasised that every platform will be addressed.
He mentioned that the board is looking to procure a spectrometer, which will help to speed up the processing of assays. “We are taking too long at the GGB with the processing of the assays and when you are due monies. We don’t want this money staying there. We don’t want you to be held up. It is unacceptable, even a board member Mr. Alphonso has mentioned that he has been waiting for a while for his assays. That is not good,” Lall said.
He added that they will also improve the way in which the miners are treated when they visit the GGB and he assured that they will ensure that timeliness and honesty are non-negotiable.
“If somebody makes a mistake and is a little slow, that can be condoned a little now and then but honesty is non-negotiable. You need to be treated the way you deserved to be treated,” he said, while adding that as a result they have hired a new Human Resources Manager who is “very well equipped with the enforcement of policies and procedures” to ensure that they are treated right.
Lall also said that the Board has mandated the General Manager – Eondrene Thompson – to look at what steps can be taken out of the process that miners are taken through when they visit the GGB to conduct business without encouraging the staff to find loopholes.
He also urged the miners to report any infractions they experience with the staff, saying that the reports will be investigated vigorously. Lall noted that they will take strict action for certain matters.