…as Joint Services conclude operation
The Protected Areas Commission (PAC) is examining the recommendations made by the Joint Services team, which the Government of Guyana had deployed to the Kaieteur National Park (KNP) to clamp down on mining in Protected Areas, following the end of the operation on Monday, a release from the Ministry of the Presidency has stated.
Commissioner of the Protected Areas Commission (PAC), Ms. Denise Fraser said that the Commission will be upping its monitoring activities in the area and will work to establish a plan to ensure that the recommendations, which fall within its remit, are put into full effect.
The Joint Services Report recommended that all operators should be prohibited from transporting mining equipment and other such paraphernalia into the KNP from any port of entry. Additionally, the report called for the impounding of all equipment seized and prosecution of the registered owners. It was also recommended that there be a clear and obvious demarcation of the protected area boundary. With significant water pollution and damage to trees observed in all of the mining areas identified, the team has recommended that remediation efforts should be considered to restore the distorted waterways and damaged patches of forest.
It also called for charges and fines to be instituted against the owners of the equipment, which caused the degradation of the environment. The Joint Services also called for the prohibition of mobile mining activity near the Park and for the removal of ‘draggers’ or mobile dredges from the Potaro River. The Report also pointed out the need for clear and appropriate public information directed at residents and visitors to the Park.
The MOTP said, following the conclusion of the operation, most of the ranks of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), the Guyana Police Force and officers of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) have already left the area, with the remainder expected to be transported to the capital city by the end of tomorrow. As a result of the operation, which included foot patrols and aerial surveillance throughout the Park, illegal mining activity has been brought to an end with equipment seized and mining camp areas secured.
During the two-week operation, eight camps were discovered, six of which were active. According to the findings reported by the Joint Services, 26 mining engines were seized, as well as the equivalent of two and a half barrels of fuel and a diving suit. The team also reported the presence of mobile dredging operations (draggers), which were quickly moved by operators, once they became aware of the presence of the Joint Services.