President David Granger has ordered officers from the Guyana Police Force (GPF); the Guyana Defence Force (GDF); and the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) to arrest several persons who were mining illegally in the Kaieteur National Park.
Reports are the decision was taken following observations made by the President.
Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman said there were at least 15 dredges working illegally at Kaieteur National Park. Last year, the Ministry cleared out approximately six dredges, and a Police Officer lost his life during the operation when a boat capsized and he drowned.
The Kaieteur National Park is a no-mining zone and is protected under the laws of Guyana. Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud, DSM, and GGMC Commissioner Newell Dennison both confirmed that there was an operation at the Kaieteur National Park.
Unconfirmed reports state that approximately two dozen persons were arrested and were being flown to Georgetown to face possible charges. According to sources, approximately eight residents from the Amerindian village of Chenapau in Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) have already been flown to the city. Information surrounding the arrests, up to press time, was sketchy.
Under Guyanese law, Amerindians do not enjoy subsurface rights to stones, minerals and hydrocarbons even if they are found in their community.