By Fareeza Haniff
[www.inewsguyana.com] – A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) Member of Parliament (MP), Dr. George Norton has criticized the mining sector, and lambaste government for allowing miners to destroy the Arora and Tiger Creek Rivers.
At a press conference on Friday, January 24, Dr. Norton said that mining is threatening the lives of the Amerindian people.
“When one takes into consideration that mining in itself can threaten culture, language and life then some amount of consideration has to be given in that area especially when rivers like the Arora and Tiger Creek and Mazaruni in the Cuyuni are dying as a result of mining,” Dr. Norton told reporters.
He further noted that there is rampant mining ongoing on titled Amerindian lands.
“We must also take into consideration that the United Nations Committee on the elimination of racial discrimination has expressed concern over mining on titled lands in the American communities….they are asking the Government to provide information on that basis and to review the granting of permission and concession…”
Meanwhile, when contacted, President of the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA), Patrick Harding debunked the claims being made by Dr. Norton.
Harding told iNews that miners do not conduct activities on titled Amerindian lands without the permission of the Toshaos in the communities. Harding made it clear that miners respect the titled lands of Amerindians.
However, according to Harding, what may be of concern is the fact that some Amerindians are asking for more lands, which miners have a legal claim to.
When asked about the destruction of the river, Harding told iNews that while mining does create some amount of disturbance, there are laws to govern miners.
He said such reports should be made to the Environmental Protection Agency or the Environment Officer of the GGDMA.
“We don’t mine willy nilly,” Harding told iNews.