Following Government’s decision to first remove a range of concessions afforded to the mining industry and increase taxation and regulations, and its more recent consideration of giving miners below-world-market prices for their declared gold, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has denounced such a move, which will certainly pressure the already struggling local mining sector.Opposition Leader Bharrat JagdeoIn a statement on Friday night, the Opposition Leader pointed out that his party – the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) – have always indicated its willingness to support the current Administration in implementing its manifesto promises, providing that they enhance the welfare and standard of living of all Guyanese people.However, he noted that there have been numerous cases where the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Administration has broken those promises made in almost every sector, from rice farmers and sugar workers to public servants and pensioners.“The latest betrayal was detailed in the local media and relates to complaints from the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) and the Guyana Women Miners’ Organisation (GWMO). This is the latest in a string of broken promises of support which were made to local small- and medium-scale miners by the APNU/AFC Government.“We in the PPP/C do not support any action aimed at reducing concessions to local small- and medium-scale miners and we do not support any reduction, compared to world market prices, in the rates paid to them for their gold,” the Opposition Leader asserted.He further outlined the PPP/C has repeatedly called for greater support to local small- and medium-scale miners, calls which have often gone unheeded. In fact, he added that the Party’s positions have been made in the National Assembly Chambers, as well as at the parliamentary Natural Resources Sectoral Committee.Jagdeo went on to recall last September, when he called for equitable support for local productive sectors and indicated that the parliamentary Opposition would support the reduction of royalty for small and medium-scale miners.Moreover, he pointed out that Government should devise plans that are more productive-sector friendly, since more than 2000 permits have already been relinquished within the last year alone due to the high costs, forcing many small miners to abandon their operations.“I want to reiterate my call for Budget 2017 to include greater support for our productive sectors – measures to address not only the plight of local small- and medium-scale miners, but also the steep decline in the forestry sector, across the country, particularly in the Ituni, Kwakwani and Linden areas,” he stated.The Opposition further added that the coalition Administration needs to be cognisant of the fact that actions such as these are only hurting the Guyanese people, whom they had promised a ‘better life’.“The Government must grasp the fact that people matter and make efforts to ensure that decisions taken do not severely and negatively impact on the lives of our people. After all it was APNU/AFC that promised ‘the good life’ during the elections campaign,” Jagdeo noted.
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