GEORGETOWN, Guyana – The Guyana Gold Board (GGB) recently hosted a visit by a team from its refining partners, the Royal Canadian Mint (RCM). Mr. Steve Higgins, Director, Storage and Refining Solutions led the team which included Mr. Derek Hall, Manager of Compliance. The scope and focus weighed heavily on GGB’s policies and procedures relative to anti-money laundering supervision and the source of gold purchased. The principal objective was to foster a level of assurance on the robustness of oversight processes of all gold declared from mine to market.
RCM’s team reviewed GGB’s files, interviewed employees, visited a gold dealer, and met with members of the agency’s board of directors. In a subsequent meeting with Minister of Natural Resources, Hon. Raphael Trotman, Mr. Higgins indicated that he was pleased with some of the due diligence efforts implemented at the GGB, and the other strides embarked upon to tighten existing GGB AML/CFT policies and procedures and adherence to them. Mr. Higgins articulated that this was positive and bodes well for strengthening the longstanding RCM-GGB relationship of over thirty years. Both parties agreed that there is work that remains to be done in several areas, and which must be pursued diligently.
Minister Trotman welcomed Mr. Higgins and stated that RCM’s presence can only be mutually beneficial. The minister looked forward to building further the partnership, and invited Mr. Higgins to make candid recommendations in the written report to him and the board of directors, and to identify areas where support could be offered. In an indication of the importance of the strong relationship between the two entities and the two countries, this meeting was also attended by His Excellency, Pierre Giroux, High Commissioner of Canada to Guyana.
GGB’s Chairman, GHK Lall, noted that, amidst the positives and developing comfort levels attained with GGB’s AML compliance efforts and overall supervision, there is room for improvement through increased monitoring and greater reconciliation with sister organization the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), where RCM also held discussions. Both the chairman and Miss. Eondrene Thompson, acting General Manager, committed to continuing efforts to remedy existing shortfalls. It is believed that this visit from RCM, and its encouraging preliminary report could go far in strengthening public confidence and trust in the work of the GGB.
The RCM team also held discussions with other state agencies, as well as executives from the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association.