Union blames mining company, GGMC for death of geologist

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– demands full investigation

The People’s United and General Workers Union has said it was holding Troy Resources responsible for the death of one of its workers, who died during a collapse at the Karouni Mine, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) one week ago.

Ryan Taylor, 33, of Lot 85 Lamaha Street, Alberttown, Georgetown, and three other persons were working on the construction of a “bench” in a mining pit when there was a slippage, which led to him falling and being covered by debris.

Dead, Ryan Taylor

On Monday, administrator of the union, Lincoln Lewis, during a press conference, said that the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission and the Social Protection Ministry were also responsible owing to the lack of inspection and safety standards.

“The sad and gruesome passing of this young man is a grim reminder of the potential danger in mining and the need for strict compliance with safety rules by the employer and even more strict inspection and enforcement of safety standards by the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC),” he said.

After the incident, it was reported that it took some time to get Taylor from under the rubble and by the time he was pulled out, it was too late.

Troy Resources later confirmed that the industrial accident occurred about 02:25h on October 8 when the geologist was standing above an excavated working face. The embankment he was standing on collapsed and he suffered fatal injuries as a consequence.

Lewis on Monday argued that the workers at Troy Resources are subjected to work under unsafe conditions, and pointed out that there have been similar incidents at the same site, much to the company’s knowledge.

Veteran trade unionist, Lincoln Lewis

“We hold those at the GGMC and the Ministry of Social Protection equally accountable along with the employer for the conditions of work which Ryan Taylor and his colleagues are subjected to working under. It was not unknown to them. In 2016, there was a severe wall failure in Smarts Stage Three pit at the Karouni Mine. The Union reached out to GGMC and the Ministry time and time again, all to no avail,” Lewis said.

As a result, the Union has called for a complete investigation into the death of Taylor and the implementation of safety guidelines at the location.

“There appears to be no respect for laws of our land, governing industrial practices, protecting workers and dictating how foreign investors are expected to function … The Union demands a full and complete investigation into the death and reiterates that we will not rest until justice is done and standard safety practices are implemented at the mine site,” Lewis reiterated.

Managing Director Ken Nilsson had informed that mining operations at Karouni, have been temporarily suspended. However, in light of the incident, Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman has since instructed the GGMC to begin making the necessary preparations for a thorough investigation of the matter.

A report is expected to be compiled and submitted upon completion. In the interim, all work in the area of construction has been ordered ceased pending the investigation.