After miners’ outcry: Upgrade works to Puruni Road to begin soon
Following weeks of public outcry, the Public Infrastructure Ministry on Thursday announced that a contract has been signed which will see the rehabilitation of the Puruni Road, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) in the coming weeks.
After Guyana Times published several articles highlighting the hardships miners are facing, the Ministry on Thursday said the contract was inked in order to facilitate the rehabilitation and construction of the Itabali to Puruni Road and works are expected to commence in a few weeks.
“While the responsibility for this road falls specifically under the Guyana Geology
and Mines Commission (GGMC), the Ministry of Public Infrastructure has recognised the urgency of repair and assures that all efforts are being made by the Ministry to advance the efforts of the GGMC to have this road rehabilitated,” a statement from the Ministry said.
The trail which was dubbed the “gateway” to the interior has been massively deteriorating over the past months.
Although an $89 million contract was awarded to JR Construction Services and Mekdeci Mining Company (MMC), to facilitate upgrade works back in 2017, miners and other commuters were still praying for the road to be fixed.
In fact, the state of the road has now left miners and other road users fearful for their stocks and moreover their lives, as it becomes more and more difficult to use the trail every day. Persons were even forced to suspend their operations at various intervals owing to the nearly impassable roads in the area.
A few frustrated miners who are obligated to use the trail with their heavy-duty trucks and other vehicles have been experiencing the full discomfort, having their faith and adrenaline tested as they venture into the almost impassable roads.
Guyana Times was told that the loam trail becomes the most difficult to get by when it rains, with miners almost considering themselves lucky to get through the sticky roads alive without their trucks toppling or becoming stuck in the mud.
The miners have been calling on the Government to rectify the situation as it
continues to affect their livelihood.
President of the mining syndicates, Cheryl Williams, recently told reporters that she has been incurring losses, along with her fellow miners, and noted that she too was forced to suspend her operations, saying that others were also forced to suspend mining. It was explained that the road was “neglected” for over one year and it has deteriorated over the past several months. In some cases, she noted, persons have been injured.
She further explained that while individuals would pay $15,000 to travel by road or $20,000 by water, the prices heighten as the roads worsen.
“The trucks that going in would charge $300,000 to $1,000,000 to get in when the road is bad and you take four to five days just to reach Puruni… we are pleading with the Government, the Ministry of Infrastructure, the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission to fix the Puruni Road and rid miners of the trials currently faced to accessing mining areas,” she noted.
The Puruni Road runs from Itaballi through Papishpou and is said to be the only entrance and exit to various sections of Region Seven.