MEDIA RELEASE: Minister of Natural Resources answers questions from Parliamentary Opposition

Minister of Natural Hon. Raphael Trotman has responded to questions posed by opposition Members of Parliament Gail Teixeira and Irfaan Ali.

Opposition Chief Whip Mrs. Teixeira has questioned the beneficial ownership or interest, whether direct or indirect, by Ministers of the Government, in any mining or forestry license. In response, Minister Trotman has provided the Clerk of the National Assembly Sherlock Isaacs with a copy of a letter from the Guyana Forestry Commission; the agency responsible for issuing forestry licenses, which states that the GFC, “has not issued any forestry license to any Minister.”

Meanwhile, a letter from the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission which was shared with Mr. Isaacs shows that among many other persons, two junior Ministers are recorded as having held mining interests which pre-date their assumption to public office as Ministers of Government. Minister Trotman was advised by both Ministers that they have relinquished all and any interest and control in the said mining ventures.

In his question, Opposition Member Irfaan Ali asked Minister Trotman to provide the National Assembly with the number of licenses issued for the export of gold in the last three years, the names of the persons who were granted a license and the year it was granted. The Clerk of the National Assembly has been provided with a copy of a letter from the Guyana Gold Board listing twelve dealerships which were granted license to possess, sell or export gold. No Minister in the present Government was granted such a license. The Guyana Gold Board is the authorizing agency for issuing the license.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and its agencies, the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission, Guyana Forestry Commission and Guyana Gold Board remain committed to providing information to the National Assembly in the interest of transparency and public accountability, and cautions against rumour-mongering and wild hysterics which are irresponsible.

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