Almost two weeks after an order was issued for the closure of sandpits in Bartica by the Natural Resources Ministry, the Town Council has been facing some challenges as it relates to other pending projects.Bartica Mayor Gifford MarshallThis was related by the Mayor of Bartica Gifford Marshall who explained that the municipality has met the requirements that were demanded to improve the working conditions of the sandpits. However, those facilities are yet to be reopened.“One of our agencies responsible for mining came into Bartica and close what we would refer to as one of our sandpits. To date, that facility remains closed and of course, it is causing some major challenges for the municipality. Despite the municipality would’ve met the requirements that were demanded by the agency, that facility remains closed,” the Mayor stated.He noted that while the municipality is affected, the other challenges come from the fact that all works have been stalled until the matter is resolved and the sandpits are up and running. It is a situation that is considered as “unbearable”.“Of course, that means that all government projects are on hold. That also means that private contractors cannot work. The banks are calling us and asking us what is happening and it’s a situation that is getting unbearable to say the least,” he stated.Meanwhile, Mayor Marshall also posited that attempts were made to engage the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) and if a positive outcome is not generated, then the Council would remain on the sideline and the decision would be left to the people of Bartica.“I spoke with the commissioner of GGMC just a few days ago and subsequently wrote him. It is my belief that if they do not act appropriately, then I think the people of Bartica will have to decide the way forward and I will leave that to them. Not the councilors and the Mayor, but the people of Bartica will have to decide the way forward.”Just two weeks ago, there were orders to close the sandpit following at Five Miles, Bartica following “dangerous safety infraction” that was said to have occurred there during a visit by the Minister within the Natural Resources Minister, Simona Broomes.Men were seen shoveling from a steep drop with unstable overburden which could have proven to be detrimental to those workers. Additionally, millions were reportedly owed in royalties to the GGMC.
Scores of Venezuelan migrant families residing in the Khan Hill community, Region One (Barima-Waini) on Sunday received food hampers in time for the Christmas holiday.The hampers contained basic food items such as canned beans, oil, milk, and biscuits. This initiative was a collaborative effort of the Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Ministry; the Civil Defence Commission; the International Organisation for Migration (IOM); the Regional Democratic Council and the Guyana Defence Force.According to the Department of Public Information, Minister within the Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Ministry, Valerie Garrido-Lowe was on the ground leading the undertaking.The Minister said it was Guyana’s international obligation to make sure that our neighbours were cared for. “We are here to ensure that they have an enjoyable Christmas” Garrido-Lowe added.The Minister said that with the number of migrant children at Khan Hill, she would ensure they receive toys for the holidays.Further, preparations are being made to assist Venezuelan families in other areas in Region One. Last week, a similar exercise was conducted in Kaikan in Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) for the migrant families living there.Over the past few months, Guyana has seen an increase in the number of Venezuelans crossing the border to escape the political and socio-economic crisis in their homeland.The Government has been working to ensure that these migrants are documented and vaccinated upon entry and housed in reliable shelters.