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Gov’t to launch Commission of Inquiry into human trafficking cases in mining districts

Minister of Governance Raphael Trotman meeting with representatives of the Guyana Women Miners Organisation (GWMO).

A Commission of Inquiry would be held into Trafficking In Persons (TIP) in mining districts, government informed the Guyana Women Miners Organisation (GWMO) on Thursday.

Minister of Governance, Raphael Trotman convened a follow-up meeting with members of the GWMO to discuss the progress made on the issues that they had raised at an earlier meeting with President David Granger last month.

Based on discussions at the initial meeting, Minister Trotman informed that he has been mandated by President Granger to set up a Commission of Inquiry (COI) into the issue of Trafficking in Persons (TIP) in mining districts. This is currently being done in collaboration with the Minister of Social Protection, Volda Lawrence.

He added that a group of lawyers have already begun drafting the Terms of Reference (TORs) for the Commission.

“As you all know better than me, mining has a lot of evils and ills associated with it. The one that bothers me the most is trafficking of young children. Trafficking by itself is bad, but it really bothers me to know that young people are put in that situation,” the Minister was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the Ministry of the Presidency

The organisation had requested membership on the Guyana Gold Board and the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC); they currently only have observer status. Minister Trotman told the group that once he is supplied with the name of a nominee he will ensure that this is done.

Minister within the Ministry of Social Protection, Simona Broomes, who  represented the Ministry of Social Protection at the meeting, spoke of the planned establishment of a database of women in the mining sector. This was welcomed by the group since they had made this recommendation several years ago. Additionally, it was announced that the Government will be reopening the Gold Board office in Bartica.

On the issue of deplorable roads in mining communities, Minister Trotman explained that the Finance Minister has removed this responsibility from the GGMC and placed it back under the Ministry of Public Infrastructure. The GWMO will be meeting with the Minister of Public Infrastructure, where this matter will be further discussed. 

Minister Broomes also informed the women that the Government will be hosting a symposium, which will to engage small and medium-scale miners at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre. This forum is likely to be held at the end of September or early October. It will address some of the burning issues such as; landlordism which plagues small and medium-scale miners and ultimately results in a reduction in gold declaration.