Canadian gold mine spends big to allow workers to vote

Last Updated on Friday, 18 March 2016, 12:37 by Denis Chabrol

A major Canadian-owned gold mining company is doing its part to ensure its workers located more than 200 kilometers away from the coastland can vote in Friday’s (March 18, 2016), Local Government Elections.

Guyanese law requires employers to give their workers reasonable time to vote and that period should not include lunch-break.

Sources said Guyana Goldfields is spending about US$50,000 (GYD$10.5 million) to fly out several workers from its mine at Aurora, Upper Mazaruni to cast their ballots.  The sources said workers would be paid for the day only if they show that their finger has been stained by the indelible ink at a polling booth.

The sources said more than one dozen  flights were scheduled to leave Aurora on Friday, bringing to 28 the number of flights between Thursday and Saturday to shuttle workers back to the mine.

About 170 workers have been flown out aboard flights chartered from several domestic carriers.

The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) says 507, 633 persons are registered to vote  for representatives of three political parties, 17 voluntary groups and 63 individual candidates at 1,562 poling stations in a mixed system of Proportional Representation and First Past the Post.

Polls opened at 6 AM and are due to close at 6 PM.