The GGDMA is a membership-­‐based organisation comprised of members, a governing Committee of Management referred to as the Executive, which is elected by members and has responsibility for governance, and an office responsible for operations and management functions.

The Organisation also has a profit-­‐making arm GGDMA Trading Inc., which was recently registered under the Companies Act and a long-­‐term income generation programme managing the Puruni Syndicate, a mineral property.

Prospective members must apply for membership using a standard application form. Upon application they must pay an application fee of G$1000 and meet the following criteria: be: (1) of legal age (16 years old); (2) Good character; and (3) Resident or have a place of business in the State of Guyana. In practice, the Association also relies on recommendations from other established miners when considering an application.

The Committee of Management decides whether to accept or reject an application. If an application is rejected the applicant has the right to attend the GGDMA’s next General Meeting and appeal the Committee of Management’s decision directly to the membership. A vote of two-­‐thirds of the members present is required to make a decision final. All members pay an annual subscription fee, which is based on the scale and type of operation. The fee structure is summarised in Table 1.

Table 1: GGDMA’s Membership Categories and Annual Fees
Membership CategoryAnnual Fee
Foreign CompaniesUSD$1000/G$200,000
Local CompaniesUSD500/G$100,000
Owner of Two or more DredgesUSD200/G$50,000
Owner of One DredgeUS120/G25,000
Pork Knocker/Mine Using Manual Methods (Batel/spade/shovel) or Employee of an OperationUS50/G10,000

Members’ main responsibilities are paying their annual fees and attending meetings. Members who do not pay are not struck off the membership.

Dues must be paid in full for a member to participate in elections of the Committee of Management. In addition, the GGDMA’s Rule Book outlines a twelve-­‐point ‘list of duties’ (Table 2).

These read almost like a Code of Conduct for business practice and membership of the Association.

Duties of Membership

Table 2: List of Duties of Membership (Source: GGDMA Rule Book 2011, p. 7)
1. To faithfully carry out the instructions and directions of the Committee of management and other persons acting by authority of the Committee of Management.
2. To operate each production unit efficiently so as to obtain the highest production, earn maximum profit so as to obtain the greatest benefits for all miners.
3. To care and protect and maintain all equipment, tools, materials and other property from damage, loss, undue wear and tear so as to obtain long life and maximum utilization and benefits.
4. To be safety conscious, ensuring a safe and healthy working and living environment
5. To be trained to practice First Aid in the interest of the Community.
6. To study the Rules and General Affairs of the Association so as to obtain full understanding of its purpose and to support the activities identified by the Committee of Management and the Association.
7. To attend all meetings of the Association and to participate in them.
8. To contribute and give time and service if elected to any post or office.
9. To respect and uphold the authority of the Association, the Committee of Management and persons acting on their authority.
10. To sell all products to the Guyana Gold Board or other legal buyers as maybe authorised by the Guyana Gold Board and Guyana Geology and Mines Commission from time to time.
11. To adhere to the Mining Acts and Regulations.
12. To prospect and mine in an environmentally sustainable manner.

Membership in the Association may be terminated by death, insolvency, resignation, insanity, or expulsion in accordance with the Rules.

A member may be removed from the Membership Register if they owe dues equivalent to 6 months subscription but can apply for re-­‐instatement after paying the outstanding amount. A member who seriously contravenes the rules may be suspended by the Committee of Management after due enquiry or expelled with the agreement of the broader membership. With the exception of:

(1) Failing to pay dues owed to the Association, and

(2) giving false particulars and information upon application; the organisation has not established clear criteria for what would constitute a contravention of its rules. This is seemingly left to the judgment of the Committee of Management and broader membership body on a case-­‐by-­‐case basis. In practice, no member has ever been expelled from the Association and those who are in arrears with their membership dues tend to either pay up whenever there is an election for Committee of Management members, which happens every two years, or their memberships lapse for a period and then they re-­‐join the Association.

The services that the Association provides to its members are varied. The previous subsection on mission/mandate gives a sense of these services. In addition to its advocacy work for the industry, individual members often seek the GGDMA’s assistance with matters that may be related to conflicts with other miners or local communities, problems with the GGMC, or other legal matters. The Association would provide advice and refer them to consultants in the field that could assist. The Association also assists miners with accessing firearm licenses for security purposes.

Members meet every two months and there is an Annual General Meeting. Extraordinary meetings are called when necessary.

Committee of Management/Executive

The GGDMA’s Committee of Management or Executive Committee is an eleven-­‐seat body comprised of six-­‐designated positions and five ordinary committee members that are elected at the Annual General Meeting of the organisation to serve a two-­‐year term. The designated positions are:

(1) President;

(2) Vice President;

(3) Secretary;

(4) Organizing Secretary;

(5) Treasurer; and

(6) Immediate Past President.

Any member of the Association with fully paid up dues may run for the designated positions or as a Committee of Management member. A President may not serve more than two consecutive terms but can run again after one term has passed. All Presidents serve the next body as an Immediate Past President.

This allows for continuity and preservation of institutional memory. There are no term limits to membership for any other posts on the Committee. In the event of death or resignation of a Committee member, the vacancy is filled by election at the next AGM and the person elected to fill the vacancy can only hold the post for the duration of the term that last holder left un-­‐served.

Executives serve on a voluntary basis. The Committee has statutory meetings the third Wednesday of every month and whenever else necessary. The powers and duties of the Executive Committee have to do with overall governance in terms of setting the agenda for meetings, financial management and reporting, recruiting and overseeing human resources, appointing Special Committees to address subject issues, and pursuing the industry’s interests as determined by its membership and external circumstance.

Members of the Committee of Management that fail to attend four (4) consecutive scheduled Committee meetings without an adequate excuse may be expelled from the Committee. A member of the Committee of Management may also be removed from the Committee if 10% of the GGDMA’s memberships sign a special petition to the Committee of Management.

If there is no meeting planned, the Committee may summon an Extraordinary General Meeting to address the petition, which would only be approved if two-­‐thirds of those present support the Petition. There are no criteria for reasonable grounds upon which to bring a petition against a Committee member.

Table 3: GGDMA Committee of Management Constitution
13. The Government of the Association in the period between Annual General Meetings and the conduct of the business of the Association subject to decisions of Extra-­‐Ordinary and General Members Meetings shall vest in the Committee of Management
14. The Committee of Management shall consist of, the Officers of the Association namely, the President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and Organising Secretary, and four (4) other members. The President of the Association, who held office immediately before the current President of the Association, shall be an ex-­‐officio member of the Committee of Management.
15. The Committee of Management shall be elected at the Annual General Meeting and their tenure of office shall be for two years from the date of their election. The President of the Association must have been a member of this Association for at least five years, inclusive of election year and served one term on the Committee of Management.
16. The President may not serve as President of the Association for more than two consecutive terms.
17. The Committee of Management shall have the power to co-­‐opt members to the Committee of Management on special assignments.
18. In the event of death, resignation, suspension or removal of an officer or member of the Committee of Management from Office, the vacancy shall be filled at the first annual general meeting or extra-­‐ordinary general meeting or general members meeting thereafter, whichever is held first.
19. The member who is elected to fill a vacancy in the Committee of Management shall only hold office for the remainder of the term to be served.
20. An officer or member of the Committee of Management may be removed from the Committee of Management through the following procedure: A special Petition signed by at least 10% of the membership shall be presented to the Committee of Management which shall summon an extra-­‐ordinary general meeting to consider and vote on the Petition. The Petition shall not be approved unless 2/3 of those voting support the Petition for removal. The Rules applicable for holding an extra-­‐ordinary general meeting shall apply in this rule.
21. A member shall not be eligible for election as an officer or member of the Committee of Management unless he is financial.
22. The conduct of elections of officers and other members of the Committee of Management shall be governed by election rules made by the Committee of Management and circulated to members at least two months before the date of the elections.
23. The Powers and duties of the Committee of Management shall be:-­‐
24. To observe in all their transactions these Rules and the Laws governing the Association.
25. To maintain a true account of all monies received and expended.
26. To keep true accounts of assets and liabilities of the Association and a proper Register of Members.
27. To prepare the Agenda for the date and venue of and publish notices for the annual General Meeting, the General Members Meeting and Extra-­‐Ordinary Members Meeting.
28. To lay before the Annual General members meeting, and Audited Statement of Income and Expenditure, Fund Account and Balance Sheet.
29. To examine the accounts and inspect the cash balances at every meeting, supervise the maintenance of prescribed Registers and sanction contingent expenditure.
30. To decide the terms of purchases and sales of assets, equipment, machinery, goods and property if called upon to do so by members.
31. To approve budgets for long and short term plans of the Association.
32. To compare actual performance monthly against the budgeted performance so as to stimulate remedial action.
33. To appoint, suspend and or dismiss persons employed by the Association.
34. To appoint and fix the remuneration of an Auditor for the Association.
35. To make available adequate supplies for production and ensure that distribution is equitable.
36. To institute, defend, compromise, refer to arbitration or to stop legal proceedings by or against the Association, Committee of Management, Officers or employees in any matter concerning the affairs of the Association.
37. To appoint Special Committee as they consider necessary from time to time and fix their terms of reference. Special Committee can include non-­‐members of the Committee of Management.
38. Generally to carry out the business of the Association to achieve its Aims and Objectives.
39. To carry out their function with diligence and prudence of the Association. The Committee shall be responsible and accountable for any loss sustained through any act or conduct contrary to laws of Guyana in administering the affairs of the Association.
40. All business discussed or decisions taken at meeting of the Committee of Management shall be recorded in a Minute Book.

GGDMA Trading Inc.

GGDMA Trading Inc. was registered as a business arm of the Association in 2013 to deal with the issue of fuel import and distribution to miners. This was done in anticipation of an agreement with the Government of Guyana to grant a fuel-­‐trading license to the GGDMA. The intention was for the GGDMA to import and distribute diesel fuel and lubricants at a reduced cost to miners.

The GGDMA subsequently entered into an exclusive agreement with a third party company to undertake this function. At the time of this study, the company was seeking a suitable international supplier and assessing the feasibility of importing reasonably priced fuel. When the GGDMA applied for the licence it was under the impression that fuel could be sourced under the Petro Caribe deal between Venezuela and Guyana and had based its financial estimates on this.

However, it subsequently learned that the Petro Caribe arrangement was strictly bilateral and the importing company would have to find another supplier. Meanwhile, the GGDMA Trading Inc. is the means through which the Government of Guyana is presently routing a 6-­‐month experimental program that offers diesel fuel at a reduced tax of 10% to miners who meet eligibility criteria. The GGDMA Trading Inc. is registered under the Companies Act. Its Board of Directors were drawn from members of the GGDMA’s Committee of Management.