Several ministers today met with key players in the mining sector to address some of their concerns, in what is expected to become a twice-yearly consultation.
The consultation, facilitated by the Ministry of Natural Resources, included Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan, Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock and Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin along with junior Minister of Natural Resources Simona Broomes.
They met with the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA), the Guyana Women Miners Association (GWMA), the Small Miners Association(SMA) and mining syndicates among others at the Marriot Hotel, Kingston.
Trotman said the consultation was the highest level of engagement between the government and the sector.
“The discussion is on! Let us have frank and open discussions and work with each other. We are not here to shut mining down,” Minister Trotman assured the stakeholders.
“You have left me with much to think about. Do we see you just as a business, or do we see you as part of the developmental pillars? Which is certainly what we think you are,” he asked.
The issues raised ranged from crime and security, trafficking in persons, the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), and concessions among others.
Minister Trotman said one of the objectives of the consultation was for the stakeholders to “hear from us as well about what we can expect of them and we can hear from them likewise.” He was confident that the parties were satisfied with the meeting.
Minister within the Ministry of Natural Resources, Simona Broomes said miners have been suffering for several decades. While the administration has been in office for just three years, many “baggage is being pelt around.”
“Today is not the only time you have seen the government’s efforts and attention. We have said publicly that we acknowledge your contribution and how important a sector it is,” she told the stakeholders. She said the government has been pushing policies and initiatives to cushion the industry.
The ministers candidly addressed many of the issues, explaining the steps being taken in the respective ministries to tackle them. Minister Trotman said his ministry will be holding a second such consultation in November this year.
By: Alexis Rodney.
Images: Jules Gibson.