Sand Miners owe Gov’t $132M in Royalties; Persaud urges better monitoring

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Minister Persaud during his address to the sand miners.
Minister Persaud during his address to the sand miners.

[www.inewsguyana.com]Sand miners currently owe the Guyana government at total of $132M in Royalties.  This revelation was made by Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Robert Persaud during a meeting with the miners at Splashmins on Saturday, January 11.

Minister Persaud said that the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) have been encouraging stakeholders to settle these outstanding amounts.

“We don’t want to be hard, people are making money, but if you are engaged in an activity that is not making you money then give up the activity, give up the resources for somebody else to benefit, don’t come and complain that I am not making money so I not going to pay the royalties. It is your duty to pay the royalties,” Minister Persaud said.

He rubbished the notion that operators working on Government contracts are automatically entitled waiver in royalty and reminded that this is not stated anywhere in the bills of quantities.

He explained that there is a mechanism in place for waivers to be granted and this can be activated administratively.

“We want to work with you, so if you have outstanding arrears…the approach we have taken is to accept whatever payment plan you have provided, we haven’t given you a deadline, but you have to recognise that we have an obligation to fulfill in this regard,” the Minister said.

Meanwhile, the Environment Minister also explained his Ministry’s intention to strengthen the enforcement of regulations so as to ensure that this activity is done within the confines of the country’s laws.

“We would have to enhance our abilities and our capabilities of monitoring what is taking place.”

He explained that there is a significant disparity in the number of sand mining activities that are actually taking place from what is captured in the Ministry’s data. This he said is a total misrepresentation of the actual situation and emphasised the need for proper monitoring and tracking.

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