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Fate of GGMC Commissioner, managers in the hands of government

The fate of  Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) Commissioner, Rickford Vieria and a number of other senior officials of that regulatory agency up to Friday hanged in the balance, as all parties await government’s response to a recommendation by the Board of Directors.

The Board has also considered the future of two senior managers of the agency, saying that they should be transferred to the Guyana Mining School and Training Centre.

However, sources said the decision to do so was not unanimous because the two representatives of the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) boycotted Friday morning’s Board meeting and a number of other board members voted against while others abstained.

In fact, the GGDMA has since written to the Board refusing to attend all other meetings as a mark of no-confidence in the Chairman, Clinton Williams.

Williams declined to divulge the recommendation that has been dispatched to the Minister of Governance, Raphael Trotman, who is responsible for the Ministry of the Presidency’s Department of Natural Resources and the Environment.

While Demerara Waves Online News could not independently confirm whether  Vieira was given an opportunity to be heard, one source quite familiar with the deliberations said a decision was taken that there was no need for the Commissioner to be heard because he has been already sent on leave by the Minister of Governance.

Those attending Friday’s Board meeting were  Geologist Evans Persaud; Technical Officer- Mining, Department of Natural Resources and the Environment Euliene Van-Lewin-Watson, Prema Roopnarine, Roopchand Persaud, Tom Dalgety, Unata De Freitas and Clinton Williams. Also present was Acting Commissioner, Newell Dennison who left the meeting after 15 minutes.

De Freitas abstained and Dalgety voted against.

Demerara Waves was told that five persons-Persaud, Watson, Roopnarine, Persaud and Williams-voted in favour of forwarding the recommendations to Minister Trotman.

Friday’s move to send the recommendations to the minister for ratification followed a previous Board meeting held on November 23, 2015 when a vote of “No Confidence” in the competencies and performance of Commissioner Viera;  Manager of Mines Division, Derek Babb;  and Manager of Geological Services Division, Jimmy Reece was passed 5-2.  Voting against the motion were Dennison and Dalgety after “strenuously objecting.”

According to documents seen by Demerara Waves Online News, alleged incompetencies by Vieria have been observed by the Management Systems Review  Committee and those linked to alleged “inaction or non-deliverables of the Board decisions and actions” during the past two years.

A Special Committee appointed by the Board on November 24, 2015 had agreed to recommend to the Board that Commissioner Vieria show cause why he should not be fired or given an opportunity to resign and paid all outstanding monies due to him. He is being cited for alleged dereliction of duty in the area of mines safety and supporting GGMC officers in the field especially when a mining pit had collapsed at Mowasi. Vieria is also being accused of bringing the GGMC into public disrepute , disassociating himself with board decisions and disregarding lawful instructions by the board.

The Board was also advised by the Special Committee that Manager of Mines, Babb has allegedly demonstrated little or no control of the staff,  appears not to be a leader. The Committee recommended to the Board that Babb should be seconded or transferred to the Guyana Mining School and Training Centre where his skills and expertise as a Mining Engineer can be best used to the benefit of medium scale miners. The Committee further recommended to the Board that Ronald Glasgow should take over as Manager of the Mines Division while Krishna Ramdass would be groomed to take over the division when Glasgow retires in another two years.

In related to the Manager of the Geological Services Division, the Special Committee concluded that he was operating in an area “that is above his technical competence and expertise” ad that he was allegedly not executing his work diligently.

The Committee recommended that the Manager of Geological Services Division, Jimmy Reece be sent to the Guyana Mining School and Training Centre and that either Gordon Nestor or Unata De Freitas replace him based on their qualifications.