Illegal Mining at Chinese Landing must not be Legalised

The Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) wishes to set the record straight as it relates to the unauthorised mining that has been occurring at Chinese landing for more than 12 years. The rightful property holder has been unlawfully deprived of his right to earn a livelihood while illegality ran amuck on the lands for more than 12 years. The GMC has failed to do its job and the environmental damage and unregulated mining resulting in the current condition of Chinese landing is a direct result of this negligence/incompetence. The Caribbean Court of Justice is in fact the highest court in Guyana and final arbitrator in legal matters, yet its decisions are being skirted and loopholed. The GGDMA calls for an immediate stop to the harassment of legal miners and for a full commitment from the regulatory agencies administering over the mining sector to adhere to Guyana’s highest court. The legal property holder must be allowed to pursue his constitutional right to earn a living and not be vilified, he has legally fought long and hard for this right. The GGDMA also welcomes the current government fact-finding mission and looks forward to the illumination of the truth.

The GGDMA views the actions of the government on this matter as a watershed moment in the mining history of Guyana; if the rights of those who shout the loudest triumph over the truth, then the entire industry will develop a disrespect for the law and just practice shouting. Many other areas face a similar issue where noise makers are shouting over the facts. The GDMA is aware of the impact the actions in this matter may have on other areas bordering Amerindian lands. The Association calls for the decision of Guyana’s highest court, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CC), to be respected. Anything else would-be lawlessness.

As expected, the village council has stated that it does not approve of the government’s fact-finding mission, they are in fact quite unhappy with any fact-finding mission, they have one position, deprive the legal mine holder of his rights and give it to them to use without regulation or oversight. Why? Any fact-finding mission will find out the truth, not just Nancy stories. The facts of the matter are that these are not the barefoot teary-eyed actors who appear before the government commission, international lobbying bodies and the numerous political parasites. These are in fact the millionaires who evade taxes, royalties, legal and environmental oversight. These are illegal operators who live in multi-million-dollar houses built from illegitimate proceeds. These are not the poor starving villagers the lobbying groups make them out to be, they are well-armed, well-funded and fully equipped to strip bare the land without oversight. What they are asking for is not for protection, rather a carte blanche to rob Guyana.

While we appreciate and respect our Amerindian brothers and sisters, many of whom are proud miners and stalwarts of the industry, it is axiomatic that all Guyanese are equal and afforded same protections under our laws. Recent efforts to canonise the rights of Amerindians at the expense of other Guyanese is ill founded; the propagation of such actions will rend national unity. The false narrative of presenting certain Amerindian communities, such as the group residing at Chinese landing, as the guardians of the land is myopic; a fact-finding mission will expose exactly who has been illegally mining these lands for the last 12 plus years. To this end the GGDMA is calling on the government to involve the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) in this fact-finding mission and to investigate the last 12 years of illegalities perpetrated at Chinese Landing. Can the agitators and leaders in this community crying wolf and living in massive homes justify the source of theirwealth via a proper paper trail? Let us find out the truth behind the fake stories.
Miners invest millions of dollars, comply with hundreds of regulations, are penalised at every turn, pay more than their share of royalties and taxes, employ thousands and carry Guyanas economy forward. The GGDMA demands fair treatment for miners. All Guyanese are equal, we stand with our mining brothers, we stand for the rule of law and not for false narratives propaganda endorsed by both international and local actors.