Govt still seeking options to arrest gold smuggling

AXIS option may be on verge of getting official green light

Gold smuggling still a mountain to climb: Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman

Challenging the assertion by the Guyana Gold Board (GGB) in the headline of the Stabroek News story of Sunday May 25th that “unknown” forces were smuggling gold out of Guyana, a source close to the industry told Stabroek Business earlier this week that “nothing could be further from the truth.” Gold smuggling, the official asserted is being carried out “by people who are legally involved in the trade,” the source said, even though he added that the illegal movement of gold out of the country “also involves international players.”

The alarming financial loss to the public treasury arising out of the illegal export of gold first hit the headlines more than three years ago when, early in 2016, Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman made the alarming disclosure that illegal gold exports amounted to around 15,000 ounces of gold per week, a rate of smuggling which meant that Guyana was losing between 50 to 60 per cent of its gold production to the illegal export of gold.

The extent of official alarm over the smuggling practice was reflected in the fact that the local authorities opted to call in the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) which reportedly confirmed that Guyana, among other countries in the region, was losing significant amounts of gold to highly organised smugglers. No one, at that stage, ever doubted that the gold smuggling phenomenon would severely challenge the capacity of the authorities here to respond effectively and that would appear to have been precisely the case…..

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