The Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association [GGDMA] has asserted that since its establishment in 1983 it has shared cordial and respectful relationships with the different President’s dating all the way back to President LFS Burnham up to most recently President Donald Ramotar.
However, the Miners Association said the incumbent President, David Granger, and his Administration has ushered in a new dispensation or cordiality, the hallmark of which is premised on neglect.
According to the GGDMA, “it has been two years now that the APNU led collation is in Government and the Executives of the GGDMA has NOT been able to have a meeting with President Granger despite numerous requests to address current burning issues that are affecting the gold and diamond mining industry in Guyana.”
See GGDMA’s full statement below:
The Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association [GGDMA] is disappointed in the manner it has been treated by the hierarchy of the APNU led administration.
The GGDMA was founded over thirty years ago in 1983. Since its establishment, it has been recognized by industry actors, successive Government administrations, and other stakeholders as the body representing the gold and diamond mining industry in Guyana, particularly small and medium miners.
The Association has an impressive record of achievements and has worked collaboratively with Governments at all levels dealing with mining and related hinterland issues.
The GGDMA wishes to place on record that since its establishment the Association has enjoyed excellent relations with the late President LFS Burnham. So much so that Mr. Burnham had then Prime Minister, Ptolemy Reid portfolio expanded to be responsible for mining. Mr. Reid himself later became a Patron of the Association. This continued under the Presidency of the late Huge Desmond Hoyte, where President Hoyte saw it fit for the first time to have a miner serve in Parliament. Even when the administration changed in 1992 the GGDMA continued to enjoy excellent and cordial relations with Presidents’ Jagan, Jagdeo and Ramotar.
Sad to say, it has been two years now that the APNU led collation is in Government and the Executives of the GGDMA has NOT been able to have a meeting with President Granger despite numerous requests to address current burning issues that are affecting the gold and diamond mining industry in Guyana.
The previous leaders saw the immense contribution the Gold and Diamond Mining Sector was making to the nation’s economy. This continues to be so with the Gold and Diamond Mining Sector being the backbone of Guyana’s economy over the past ten  years with a failing agriculture sector.
With Oil on the horizon, this administration seems to have forgotten all about the Gold and Diamond Mining Sector. How unfortunate, when it was the gold and diamond mining sector that was the backbone of Guyana’s economy over the past 10 years. Is it a case where the Government is:
- Forsaking tried and true [Mining and Agriculture] for the shiny and new [Oil and Gas]
- Looking at all Miners as Tax Evaders
- Branding all Miners as Criminals.
The GGDMA is frustrated over the new tax regulations that are being pushed to miners. As a result of Budget 2017, the GGDMA have the following concerns on these new tax regulations, which has been communicated to the authorities but to no avail. These being: –
- Keeping of acceptable records; all of these operations are done in the interior locations where receipts and bills are often not obtained, especially by service providers.
- Application of Threshold to Tributors; the association is requesting that tributors be able to benefit from this threshold provision at the time that they are paid, where a provision can be made by the operation owner to deduct the 20% Tributors tax after the person has earned in excess of the $60,000 on a monthly basis. This would allow the Tributors to immediately start to benefit from this provision.
- Tax Rate; the association is requesting that there be a reduction of the 40% rate on the chargeable income for miners. With regards to the off-the-top payment of 5% Royalty to the GGMC along with the 2% upfront withholding Tax, the GGDMA feels that a provision can be made for payments at a lower tax rate for miners and/or alternatively a sliding scale against the US Dollar off-the-top.
- Filing of Returns; the GGDMA is suggesting that the deadline for filing of returns be extended from April 30 to a convenient later date given that many miners would need to make adjustments so as to comply with the new requirements.
The GGDMA continues to be frustrated in the manner in which the GGMC is conducting its business. The GGMC needs to be modernized as soon as possible. Simple information requested from this agency seems to be an uphill task. One would expect that with all the royalty that is being collected, that a modern information management system would be in place at this agency, this is far from the case. Simple information requested which in this technology era should take minutes, sometimes takes days.
The GGDMA would have submitted a list of fifteen  miners to the GGMC for a no objection for the allocation of duty free fuel, which was already vetted by the GRA. It has been one month now these documents are with the GGMC with no response. The GGDMA finds this behavior by the GGMC unacceptable and anti-business since the list of fifteen was already cleared by the GRA. In addition, miners would have had to purchase their fuel outside of this concession for April operations since the month is almost finish. The GGDMA also wishes to bring to the Government’s attention that miners would have lost the fuel concession available during a period last year due to the inefficiencies of Government Agencies.
The GGDMA is open to meet with President Granger to address these and many other issues that are affecting its membership and the sector as a whole.
In light of the above mentioned, the GGDMA asks the question, “Is this the better life that was promised to our Miners, who makes tremendous sacrifices and contribute so much to Guyana’s economy?” The GGDMA remains steadfast to promote and protect the rights, interest and welfare of all miners.