Persons found mining in protected areas will be arrested – Govt warns

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon has emphasised that Government’s position is that anyone found mining illegally in any protected area, will be arrested, and there will be no exception.

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon

Minister Harmon made this disclosure during a post-Cabinet press briefing today, at the Ministry of the Presidency, GINA said.

On May 28, several persons including residents of Chenapau, Region Eight, were arrested and transported to Georgetown from the Kaieteur National Park after reports of illegal mining in the area.

When asked whether the decision to arrest those persons was too harsh, Minister Harmon explained that the Kaieteur National Park is part of Guyana’s protected area system, and one which the country is proud of.

“In the 2011 Protection Areas Bill and which subsequently became an Act, there were certain provisions that were made since that Act.  Since we came into office this has been our second operation to expel illegal mining in that area. Mining is not one of the activities permitted in that area under the law; they are other sustainable forms of livelihood which are permitted. And so, once people go into the area and they mine it is our responsibility of the state to ensure that they are removed,” Minister Harmon said.

According to GINA, Minister Harmon further explained that on this occasion, the mining became more extensive and therefore the persons, who were mining there illegally, were subjected to the Laws of Guyana.

Meanwhile, following meetings among Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, and other officials from the Ministry and the GGMC, it was decided that as an act of good faith, government will not prosecute the charges against the more than 20 persons arrested on May 28, for mining within the Park.

The Kaieteur National Park is one of the country’s protected areas, managed under the Protected Areas Commission. It is one of the oldest and most iconic Protected Areas of Guyana and was established in 1929. It is especially known for the majestic Kaieteur Falls, the tallest single-drop waterfall in the world.

In a statement, the Natural Resources Ministry reaffirmed that the park has been designated a Protected Area, and will remain off limits to mining, forest-harvesting and other related activities. Further, it has been determined that the pre-1999 boundaries for the Kaieteur National Park will not be restored as some have advocated.




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