Last Updated on Thursday, 7 January 2016, 13:07 by Denis Chabrol
The Acting President of Transparency Institute of Guyana Inc. (TIGI) Compton Meerabux says that Junior Natural Resources Minister Simona Broomes should relinquish all her interests in Guyana’s lucrative gold mining sector.
Broomes was recently relieved of her duties as Social Protection Minister and appointed Natural Resources Minister.
Questioned by Demerara Waves on Wednsday, Broomes admitted to owning claims in the sector but was pellucid that she does not see a conflict of interest.
“I don’t see it as a conflict of interest. I have three mining properties in the Issano area and Pharsalus and I had a contract gone back years and if they are to mine the area, it is simple we come back to the table if I am to get a percentage or if they are going to buy me out and that is simple. I don’t see any conflict of interest there and that is very straightforward,” she said.
But Meerabux stated that there is a conflict of interest and it is something that the Institute would like to see the government address.
“Whether it is perceived or real there is a conflict of interest,” he stated.
Asked whether he believes Broomes should demit her post as Junior Natural Resouces Minister, the TIGI head stated that he would like to speak to the Minister or the President before making such a pronouncement.
He later stated that she should divest herself of all interest in the sector which has been plagued by allegations of corruption in the past.
“She has to show complete removal from all gold mining interests,” said Meerabeaux.
A Troy Resources document seen by Demerara Waves Online News states that the company has the option of acquiring a 100 percent interest in three medium scale prospecting permits in keeping with an agreement signed in June, 2012. So far, she has been paid US$40,000 on the signing of the agreement, and two more payments of US$40,000 each.
Pharsalus Gold, according to the document, enjoys full rights to occupy, explore, prospect, mine or carry out related activities on the tenements. The document also states that after the exercise of the option the vendor, Simona Broomes is entitled to a 2% Net Smelter Royalty, which Pharsalus has the option to purchase at any time for a cash payment of US$1,500,000.