Junior Natural Resources Minister Simona Broomes has promised the formulation of new and workable strategies to fend off corruption in the Natural Resources Sector.
The assurance came as she delivered her contribution to the 2016 budget debates in the National Assembly on Monday.
Minister Broomes explained that one of the major challenges in the sector lies in changing old habits and she said corrupt practices are now being unveiled. “It’s like the more you peel away layers of decay the more you discover,” she said, while declaring that bringing a sense of order to sector was top priority for the Ministry.
According to Minister Broomes, the government will “roll back” the tides of gold smuggling to ensure that the nation benefits from its natural resources fully.
“It is unacceptable that as a nation, we cannot benefit directly from more than half of our gold product,” she said, while lamenting the high number of cases of gold smuggling.
She said the administration will close loopholes and work towards redirecting what the country has been losing over time.
Another change, Broomes said, is to ensure fairness. All miners, both foreign and local, rich and poor must be treated fairly, she insisted.
“For far too long small miners have been operating in an atmosphere of unfairness,” Broomes added while promising the implementation of stronger monitoring mechanisms in the sector.
She said the eight-month-old coalition government has done a lot and much more is in store.
The Minister said citizens can also look forward to improvement of the environmental profile and safety record of the country.
She said both men and women who are employed in the sector must be rewarded with better treatment, noting that the challenges ahead are well thought out and anticipated, but she insisted that growth and improvement in the sector are inevitable.
Gold production continues to do well with small miners accounting for most of the gold declarations, however, the Government fears that close to 15,000 ounces of gold is being smuggled out of Guyana every week. (Kurt Campbell)