Freed miners and their families from Chenapau Village, Region Eight, today picketed in front of the Ministry of the Presidency (MOTP) and called for a meeting with President, David Granger and Natural Resources Minister, Raphael Trotman to address their concerns.
“We are here because of what happened, because our families have been taken,” was what many protesters indicated to media operatives while highlighting that the matter was “illegal.”
“It is illegal. All of those people were out of the park. It was coming through the park they got hold up, arrested by the army,” a resident and the Toshao of the Chenapau Village said regarding the incident where 21 villagers were arrested on Saturday last as President Granger issued a call for a clampdown in mining at the protected Kaieteur National Park.
The 21 persons included 18 males Calixtus Francis, 47; Kenvil Cyril, 18; Donald Andrew, 48; Aladin Sebastian, 29; Garlon Andrew, 32; Clifford Andrew, 30; Leroy Fraser, 29; Collin Francisco, 27; Phillip Andrew, 18; Rudolph Bobb-Semple, 37; Franklin George, 38; Carlton Lewis, 40; Jason Baptiste, 30; Cecil Baptiste, 56; Bryan Mason, 31; Tomson Edwards, 17; Mark Andrew, 26; and Clive Edwards, 20 two females; Carrol Williams, 22, Sabrina Dos Santos, 26, and two-year-old Naziel Williams.
The females and toddler were released on Monday while the adult males were released on Tuesday. They are all expected to appear at the Mahdia Magistrates’ Court on July 18 2017 to answer the charge of illegal mining in a protected area.
However, the miners are maintaining that they were not in the Kaieteur National Park and that they were not apprehended while working.
They noted that they were brought to Georgetown without being afforded information as to the reason they were held.
The Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) is insisting that the miners were not given permission for their operations. However, the miners provided documentation to prove otherwise.
The miners said they will continue protesting until they are afforded the opportunity to meet with President Granger and Minister Trotman.
The Amerindian Peoples Association is also questioning how the government intends to get the miners back home since they were brought out without any money.