Norton proposes Multi-agency Task Force to tackle decline in gold production

Norton proposes Multi-agency Task Force to tackle decline in gold production

Opposition Leader, Aubrey Norton has called for the establishment of an Inter-agency Task Force in order to save the country’s gold-mining industry, which appears to be on the decline.

During a press conference today, Mr. Norton said the rapid decline in the country’s gold production and declaration could be attributed to “Government incompetence”, however, he stated all is not lost.

“Based on our track-record of success on the issue when in government, we would like to make the following recommendations; an inter-agency task-force should be established to address all forms of smuggling. Agency representatives should meet frequently a coordinate anti-smuggling efforts emphasizing the sharing of information,” Norton stated. 

Mr. Norton explained that the establishment of the special task force was critical to the coalition’s anti-smuggling efforts.

He pointed out that the task force should comprise at minimum representatives from the Guyana Gold Board, Guyana Geology and Mines Commission, Financial Intelligence Unit, Guyana Defense Force, Guyana Police Force, Guyana Revenue Authority, Attorney General’s Office and Civil Aviation Authority.

He said however that the taskforce cannot be effective is the root causes of the decline is not addressed. 

“Labour shortage in this sub-sector show signs of becoming chronic, smuggling and illegal trading are increasingly rampant. The recent arrest and arraignment of three persons on a joint charge of exporting gold valued at US$560,000 without license is a mere tip of the iceberg,” the Opposition Leader said.

The Opposition Leader said should new large-scale production fail to materialize, the country will experience significant reduction in gold revenues and export earnings which the country cannot afford.

“This downward spiral is likely to persist as the government has displayed little, serious and sustained efforts to tackle gold smuggling and on the other hand to grapple with the resource-curse in the form of skilled-labour leaving the low wage industries for the better paying oil and construction sectors,” Mr. Norton stated.

Both the Government of Guyana and the Guyan Gold Board have noted a decline in gold declarations, especially by small and medium scale miners. Gold production has also been on the decline in the past few years.

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