Scores of small miners on Wednesday took to the streets of Madhia to protest the seizure of their mining equipment by the incumbent APNU/AFC Administration.
The miners who are now decrying that bread is being taken out of their mouths and that of their families are calling for total amnesty for whatever offences they may have committed.
According to the miners, the consequences being meted out to them as a result of them breaching protocols are too “harsh”.
Speaking to media operatives, the miners condemned the actions of government noting that a lot of factors needed to be considered before such a decision should be taken by them.
One of those factors is the process of obtaining a mining permit which reportedly takes some six weeks to two months to be granted.
“We have to be waiting long periods before we could get and renew the applications so all of them things does cause these people to breach orders and when they do, they does be treating us like criminal, running us with guns!” one miner decried.
Another factor highlighted is the issue of bribery, where the Compliance Officers in the said area would allegedly accept bribes from the miners.
“They did not say anything to us, they usually take bribes and allow people to work so now when the people feel free to work, they coming down on them harshly” it was revealed.
According to the miners, following protocols is not an issue, however they disclosed that there is no proper system in place.
“We are just asking that they come with good orders so that we can follow… the rules could have been fit in a systematic way so that the people could comply and continue earning” a dredge owner who had his motor engine seized explained.
Further, the granting of lands to foreign nationals was also condemned by the miners who stated that “Guyanese are left with nothing”.
According to the miner “the big men them are getting lands to work and the small miners are being suffocated, nothing for them, we own Guyanese people!”
As such, the miners are calling for an intervention and for amnesty to be granted to them.
“We are asking for total amnesty…whatever the consequences are after this breach then we will accept it”.
Opposition Leader, Dr Bharrat Jadgeo spoke on the issue earlier today and called the action taken as an “unconscionable assault” on the small miners.
Jagdeo further called for the David Granger led Administration to have the decision immediately reversed.
Noting that the Madhia community is largely dependent on small mining, Jagdeo said “This sort of callous and uncaring decision will only serve to further hurt our small miners, who have families to maintain and children to send to school….we have a Government that has done nothing to improve the fortunes of small miners or the working class, for that matter. The Ministers sit in their offices and gorge themselves on privileges using taxpayers monies, while every single day they come up with new ways to launch an assault on our working class and productive sectors.”
As such, he called for attention to be given to small miners given the importance of the mining sector to Guyana’s economy. (Kizzy Coleman)