GUYANA, GINA, Friday, May 26, 2017
Members of the syndicate groups in Mahdia, Region Eight were afforded the opportunity to air their concerns with Minister within the Ministry of Natural Resources, Simona Broomes on Thursday.
During the meeting, miners were reminded by the Minister who has responsibility for the syndicates, that the initiative is one that the government has developed to address the plight of small miners.
According to the minister, the syndicates will be playing a vital role in the development of their communities, region and by large the country.
“The syndicate is something that I see growing from strength to strength,” the Minister explained. She added that it is about empowering small miners by creating a level playing field for all.
During the meeting, the small miners raised a number of concerns and sought clarification as it relates to how exactly the syndicate is supposed to develop their community and even offered a few suggestions.
Orin George said that he was happy that the syndicate was initiated to support small miners who are taken advantage of by larger miners.
However, he was concerned about how the syndicate would actually help the youths of Mahdia, some of whom are involved in negative activities.
“…if you make a million US dollars, what are you doing for the community? What are you doing for the youths?” George questioned adding that, “even if I want to be a pork- knocker, let me be an educated pork-knocker.”
Minister Broomes in responding to George, said that the 10 percent that will be paid by the syndicate as tax will go towards youth development among other things. These include education, training and sports development.
“With the government pushing for township in Mahdia, Mahdia will change-young people in sports, infrastructure, technology, you name it,” the Minister stated.
George was selected by the Minister to be the liaison from Mahdia who will pinpoint the needs of young people within the community.
No place for illegal mining
Minister Broomes reminded the syndicate members that illegal mining will not be tolerated. The Minister told the members that even though they are a part of the syndicate, they are not allowed to mine without permission.
This was after one miner said he was asked to move off a land he was mining even though he is a part of the syndicate. “Syndicates come about that you must not raid, I am not going to entertain nothing with raiding that is illegal, absolutely nothing,” the Minister sternly stated.
The Minister explained that, “if you are a miner and you are going to say to me that government is putting forward an initiative, to mobilise you, to get things in order, to get things sorted out, and for you to work and you yourself who is a member of the syndicate is going to violate the regulation… it is complete disrespect not only to the syndicate, to the GGMC, to the government but to what we are really fighting for.”
A member from the National Syndicate Body, Linden Bastiani, said that over the last eight years or so Mahdia has been on a downward spiral. According to Bastiani, the syndicate is the best way to help Mahdia rise again.
Bastiani made a request to the Minister to provide technical and infrastructural support to syndicates once they are fully organised and about to commence work.
However, Minister Broomes pointed out that it was already agreed upon by her and Minister Raphael Trotman that government will assist syndicates where necessary.
Minister Broomes explained, “what is important is that the roads that you might need access to after you get your place and that is confirmed, that you identify an area or road that you might need assistance, and in continued meeting with the minister that you make it known where you need assistance and we will take it from there.”
Additionally, the Minister reminded the miners that the officers deployed in the communities are there to lend the technical assistance they might need and not to do anybody a favour as it is their job.
The syndicate project was undertaken as a means of making mining lands available to small miners who could not afford a claim on their own. As a syndicate, small miners will also have access to the concessions being offered to other mining groups in the sector.
By: Isaiah Braithwaite
TAGS 2017DPIGGMCGINAGuyanaMahdiaMinister within the Ministry of Natural ResourcesNational Syndicate BodyRegion EightSimona BroomesSyndicates