Following is a press release from the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA):
The Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) supports the position that mining, an essential industry, must continue to function. At this time, when Guyana needs all the economic help it can get, mining provides valuable jobs and as such has been recognised as an essential service. We welcome the assistance and support of the Region 9 Chairman in helping our members to continue to provide this lifeline for Guyana’s economy. The GGDMA stands in support of the miners who live and work in the various villages in the Rupununi and we urge all stakeholders to recognise the importance of mining.
We support the right of the villages to put in additional control measures to prevent illegal operators from breaching the rules of social distancing and quarantine and from unnecessary interaction with village populations. However, local miners who have the necessary permits and clearances should not be hindered from pursuing a livelihood. Guyanese miners like other citizens have a right to work and pursue a livelihood. Even in the current pandemic, miners have continued to work to ensure that mining and the many support industries continue to survive. Mining continues to operate within the guidelines and laws as set out by the Ministry of Health and the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission. Miners remain compliant and call on all stakeholders to cooperate, we are in this together and must work to support each other if we want to get out safely, and even as we learn to live within the pandemic.
We share the concerns of the villages through which miners must traverse and urge all miners to take full precautions to ensure that they minimise exposure and interaction with local residents. We urge miners to traverse swiftly and safely through the villages and minimise the length of time they spend in areas in which they are not working. The GGDMA calls on miners to follow all the health and safety guidelines as set out by the Ministry of Health and to work with the various village Toshaos to help maintain safety. The GGDMA also calls on the regional authority and the border authorities to ramp up enforcement to prevent illegal border crossings.