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Virtual ban on fuel to Kaieteur National Park aims to “choke” illegal mining; Chenapau residents protest arrest of fellow villagers for illegal mining

As residents of Chenpau on Monday protested the arrest of more than 20 persons mainly from that Amerindian village for allegedly illegally mining at the Kaieteur National Park, authorities are contemplating prohibiting the landing of fuel at the airstrip on that protected area to “choke” mining.

Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman said his ministry has recommended to the National Protected Areas Commission (PAC), which is responsible for the Kaieteur National Park, that no more fuel must be flown to the Kaieteur National Park for onward transport to Menzies Landing located on the left bank of the Potaro River.

“We have recommended to the PAC that they stop fuel going into Kaieteur because fuel will literally be the lifeline for these operations. No fuel will be landing at Kaieteur except for the Kaieteur Lodge or so that is one of the ways we are looking to choke it (mining) off,” Trotman told Demerara Waves Online News. Government maintains that mining will not be tolerated at the Kaieteur National Park.

Chairman of the National Protected Areas Commission, Denise Fraser said her body first had to verify who has legal responsibility for preventing fuel from landing at the Kaieteur Airstrip. She assured that consultations would be held before a raft of measures is put in place. “We will have to have discussions with them,” she said.

Chenapau Village Toshao (village chief), Edward Mc Garrell said if no fuel is moved into the area, that would “only make it harder for the people in the village” quite in contrast to the 2015 election campaign promise. “Things will be more difficult if they should stop landing fuel at Kaieteur. It would be more difficult for the miners and with us here, we have a lot of people who have dredges. And, like I said, at the last election we were promised life would be better. We see this as not even getting close to better. It is just making things harder for us,” he said.

About 100 persons from Chenapau on Monday protested at a number of locations including the Kaieteur Airstrip against the arrest of 21 villagers for allegedly mining at the Kaieteur National Park. At least 15 excavators were also seized in the joint operation by police, soldiers and the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission.  “I saw they had our residents like prisoners of war because they were guarded with two soldiers with AK-47 (assault rifles). I see like they are just trying to raise the people’s passion up there,” Mc Garrell told Demerara Waves Online News.

Mc Garrell defended the decision by miners to extract gold from the area, saying there is no clear boundary where the Park begins and that Amerindians should be allowed to earn a livelihood from gold deposits in the area. “It will have an impact because that is the main source of our income here in the village and without mining, I don’t know what other activity there is to maintain ourselves and our families,” he said. “We have a problem with protected areas because there is no visible line to show where Kaieteur National Park. There is a sign board there but people who are mining two to three hours past that signboard were still arrested,” he said.

The Village Chief vowed that residents would not give up in their struggle to mine in the area, following the extension of the Kaieteur National Park in 1999 without consultation.

  • BeFair_SeeClear

    Years of lawlessness has finally become the hunting ghost the the current administration. ….The PPP virtually destroyed this country of ours making it completely lawless …now right seems wrong…what a challenge it will be to reverse 23yrs of destruction.

    • Col123

      CORRECT…..really forthcoming from you that slow fyah, mo fyah and gyam fyah did some great harm!..we have a multitude of ghosts haunting this current administration!..We should at least find out who are the intellectual authors and leaders that orchestrated the demise of 400+ of our citizens, during the past decade!.well, one drowned in a canal clutching his AK 47….who are the incompetent folks who lead, financed and trained these AK 47 armed folks who met their demise fighting? If we lose over 400 armed and trained folks to a squad of rag tag gang, how are we going to restore order or stand up to those Venezuelans?

      • Orin Peters

        When you say we what do you mean coward .At least not you from your writing .Clutching a ak 47 and dying for country is always good coward .You were never thought about that the only thing you can do is take advantage on your own kind and when you meet real man yuh dos run like hell.YOU LIKE COW SHIT HARD OUT SIDE AND SOFT INSIDE, WHEN THEM MASH YUH, YUH DOES MESS UP THEM SKIN.LOL

        • Col123

          You wouldn’t know the value of any thing. Even cowshit has more value than you… It can be used for many human support systems such as fuel for fire, fertilizer etc… as a matter of fact, many folks find reverence towards the animals that produce it!

      • Gtloyal

        Tin soljuh, no one has to find out who the intellectual authors were. Everyone knows, including you. Tying to divert the focus away from those ousted rear end leaders who are said to have ordered the demise of the 400 plus Guyanese, including one of their own, can be interpreted as an attempt, maybe by someone with inside knowledge, to cover things up.

        • Col123

          Well, we need to know who lead those 399 men to their demise… I don’t know who … if you do , then I would suspect your complicity..

    • Unbiased Guyanese

      23 years of destruction,,you dont know what is development,,,its funny under bhurnam and hoyte time black ppl never accumulate anything…always ready to dab shit on somebody else except their own,,,,do a check count on the prisons,,,pityfulll

  • rudeo

    buck naah gat rite foh dig gold anywhere…leh dem go bak to weh dem cum from

  • Col123

    You are overstepping with that first sentence about education…lest you have survival skills to outlive any of our Native people in austere conditions…. some one should be teaching you to respect these folks, since you profess to know better!.. they are people of this land and have more respect for it than so called educated and civilized folks.