Anti-gold smuggling laws need to be enforced – Allicock
Gold exports are one of the main sources of revenue that adds significantly to the Guyanese economy. The associated industries of the precious commodity provide many avenues of employment for both men and women, especially indigenous citizens, the majority of whom reside in the interior.
However, Guyana has not been able to gain the optimum revenue from this lucrative industry as a high percentage of the commodity is not declared to the Guyana Gold Board. Government had announced earlier this year that thousands of ounces of gold are being smuggled out of the country regularly.
In this light, Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Minister Sydney Allicock has reiterated calls for enforcement of regulations that are geared at preventing gold smuggling.
According to a report in today’s Guyana Times, the minster suggested that government agencies need to implement better measures of management to correct the “wrongs” that have persisted in the industry:
“More systems need to be put in place to retrieve that gold is being taken out of the country without proper management; the laws need to be enforced…[but] things have gone wrong for so long, to do the right seems wrong,” Allicock noted.
According to figures as quoted by Gold Price and the London Fix, the price for gold stood at US$1321 on Friday, up from US$1088 for the same period last year.
This reflects a 17 per cent year on year increase. Late last week, it was announced that the Aurora Mines of Canadian company, Guyana Goldfields Inc had produced an estimated 75,000 ounces of gold for the first half of this year.
In January, Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman had announced that about 15,000 ounces of the country’s gold were smuggled every week. Minister Trotman’s previous estimation suggests that the local economy will not fully benefit from the significant price increases on the world market.
In 2015, gold raked in some US$500 million for the country while the early first-half of 2016 earnings stood at some US$366 million.
However, these figures are below the true earnings for the sector, likely reducing the amount of revenue that can be obtained. In September last year, the Natural Resources Minister had pointed out that a multi-stakeholder meeting was held where the anti-gold smuggling task force was established.
The stakeholder agencies the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), and the State Asset Recovery Unit (SARU) were included.
In January 2016, it was revealed that the United States government was assisting Guyana to curb gold smuggling to South American nations; and also Europe, Miami and New York.
It was reported that the US Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) were both involved in the anti-smuggling operations.
Gold prices on the world market skyrocketed following Brexit, which saw the majority of citizens in Great Britain voting to leave the European Union in a nationwide Referendum last month.