By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Government of Guyana has taken steps to establish an anti-gold smuggling task force as it seeks to address the issue, which gained traction in the local media a few weeks ago.
This is in light of reports that a number of businessmen, who have an interest in the gold mining sector, have been fingered in the smuggling ring; most of them have businesses in Georgetown, Bartica and other interior communities.
Governance Minister, Raphael Trotman, who holds responsibility for the natural resources department, told a post cabinet media briefing on September 23 that the Government had convened a high level interagency meeting to discuss the issue.
Agencies at the meeting included the Guyana Revenue Authority, Special Organised Crime Unit, Guyana Geology and Mines Commission and the State Asset Recovery Unit.
According to Trotman, the meeting saw discussions into the “various tentacles” of the issue affecting the sector.
Coming out of that meeting, the Governance Minister explained that there was an agreement to establish a task force that would seek to address gold smuggling.
“We meet again in two weeks where we will continue to refine our action plan,” Trotman stated.
The Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) had already stated that accusations of gold smuggling were hurting legitimate miners.
According to the miners’ representative body, while the need for an investigation is paramount, it is apposite to note that some of the miners do not engage in smuggling gold.
“The GGDMA hopes that a proper investigation will be conducted to ensure that legitimate miners are cleared of this stain. Legitimate miners do not smuggle gold, we are in the business of mining and work hard to ensure that our practices are free from hassles and are compliant with the law,” a release stated on September 10.