GGMC and Amerindian communities working at enhancing relations

Guyana Chronicle
November 22, 2002

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THE Ministry of Amerindian Affairs in collaboration with the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) yesterday held a consultation exercise on ways to enhance the two Government agencies’ relationship with Amerindian communities.

Venue was the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), Brickdam.

Chairman of GGMC, Mr. Robeson Benn said the activity was aimed at developing, in the long run, improved relations with the Amerindian mining communities.

“We are concerned about complaints of environmental damage, siltation, and so on,” Mr. Benn said, adding that the GGMC is looking at revising its Acts and regulations and it is concerned that some aspects of these revision may need the input of the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs and Amerindian communities.

According to a Government Information Agency (GINA) release, Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Carolyn Rodrigues, in addressing the gathering said the aim of the consultation was to develop a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs and the GGMC, regarding the approach to mining in Amerindian communities.

Overall, it seeks to improve the environmental quality and livelihood for the Amerindian people in those communities, and encourage them to practice sustainable mining since the Amerindians were Guyana’s first miners.

In this regard, the GGMC and the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs would be concentrating on the establishment of a Mining Affairs Committee over the next few weeks. The entities would also work on developing and disseminating information on sustainable mining to the stakeholders.

The GGMC Chairman, the release noted, is concerned that there should be a reliable information flow among the various entities, that is, the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs, the GGMC, and Amerindian communities.

He called on the participants from Regions One - (Barima/Waini), Seven -(Cuyuni/Mazaruni), Eight - (Potaro/Siparuni), Nine -Upper Takatu/Upper Essequibo and Ten (Upper Demerara/Berbice), to supply the GGMC with samples of water from mining districts to be analysed to ensure that the water is at all times safe for consumption.

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