Bill laid to improve transparency and accountability at Guyana Gold Board

By Synieka Thorne

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, May 23, 2018

As the government continues to strengthen the regime for the management of Guyana’s natural resources, an amendment of the Guyana Gold Board Act was tabled before the National Assembly today.

Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman presented for its first reading, the Guyana Gold Board (Amendment) Bill 2019, which is intended to improve transparency and accountability at the Guyana Gold Board (GGB).

According to Minister Trotman, the bill seeks to amend the Guyana Gold Board Act, Cap 66:01 and certain provisions of the Tax Act, Cap 80:01, in an effort to strengthen the regulating regime of the gold trade.

The bill amends Section (6) of the Act to extend the period within which a producer must sell to the GGB any quantity of the gold in his/her possession from 28 to 75 days. It also extends the period within which a producer, who wins or obtains gold during operation, must sell that gold.

Further, once enacted, a person who is not a producer and has a quantity of gold exceeding one ounce will have to, within 75 days, sell the gold to the GGB or a duly authorised personnel. This particular amendment will not apply to a registered goldsmith, a dentist or a person who is in transit through Guyana and has in possession gold that was not obtained from Guyana.

Among other things, the bill also provides for the making of all applications for the trade in gold to be made to the General Manager of the GGB, while the application to trade in all other valuable minerals and precious stones will continue to be made to the commissioner of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC).

There will also be the imposition of higher fines of $1M and $3M and imprisonment for a term of five years as a penalty for an offence under the Act.

Prior to the tabling of the bill in the National Assembly, Minister Trotman, together with board members and officers of the GGB, consulted with gold dealers and other stakeholders, including mining syndicates, the Guyana Women Miners’ Organisation (GWMO) and the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners’ Association (GGDMA), on the proposed amendment to the Guyana Gold Board Act.