Georgetown, Guyana- (July 31, 2015) – The Hon. Joseph Harmon, Minister of State, with responsibility for the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), today said that as the agency celebrates its 36th Anniversary, it must always put the country and its stakeholders first in its operations.
These comments were made even as he promised the organisation new and improved systems, which will be put in place to ensure that the Commission is effectively managed.
Minister Harmon who as the time speaking to special invitees and staff of the Commission at the anniversary luncheon, at the Princess Hotel Guyana, said that the GGMC has the responsibility for the country’s natural resources and as such, should ensure that every action taken is in the interest of the country and its citizens.
He said President David Granger, during the course of the week, met with the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners’ Association (GGDMA) and several members of the GGMC, where it was expressed that there were many systems in place which were hampering the work and efficiency of the body and the mining sector as a whole.
This, he related, included the increasing number of Court matters engaging the GGMC and the non-enforcement of existing laws governing the sector. “These are matters, which as a nation, we have to address because in the view of many, there are too many injunctions, tied up injunctions… So the whole systems seem to be tied up by injunctions … and this is something we will have to address.
He disclosed that the government has given its commitment to ensuring that the GGGMC operates in an environment which “unshackles all of these archaic rules and regulations and injunctions that ‘tie up’ the Commission and make it an ineffective tool of the State.” The new administration will be appointing a mining officer who will be responsible for dealing with regulatory issues.
“Going to Court is wasting a lot of time and we were advised of the provision in the act for a Mining Officer, which is a particular magistrate who is assigned to deal with mining matters… We will explore that possibility to ensure that a particular magistrate is designated for that purpose even if it’s one day or two days a week to deal with mining matters so that these matters can be cleared up as quickly as possible…”, the Minister said.
“We believe that the protection of our natural resources, the national patrimony, is a serious responsibility which we have to exercise as a Commission. It is the intention of the government to provide the GGMC with the resources necessary to carry out duties in a fair and fearless manner,” Minister Harmon said, to much applause from the audience.