SRDC is not representing all the people of the South Rupununi

Dear Editor,
I read with amazement and utter shock on Monday, November 22, that the South Rupununi District Council (SRDC) is calling for the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission to rescind the Marudi mining agreement.
First of all, as an Indigenous resident of the South Rupununi for over 45 years, I wish to set the record straight by stating that the SRDC does not represent all the people of the South Rupununi, but only a select few, who are mostly members of the said SRDC and its affiliates. The Council is marred by self-interest and other motives, rather than representing the people collectively in the interest of uniting our people for the common good of community development.
Editor, the SRDC, and its executive members are really out of touch with the realities on the ground in Marudi, and in relation to the recently signed agreement by several parties. To alleviate my ignorance on this matter, I recently reached out to several individuals and agencies simply because the SRDC is neither trusted nor respected by the majority of residents in the South Rupununi. As such, I can safely state that small miners from South Rupununi, who were once requested to cease operations within Marudi and were compliant, have been given approval to resume mining under an agreement with a mine plan and monitoring system for regulated mining activities. Additionally, the large-scale mining company is not engaged in any mining, with the exception of exploration activities, only exploration is permitted, as per the company’s prospecting licence, and strengthened by the agreement which was recently signed.
The SRDC is so out-of-touch with the people it claims to represent that it is unaware the residents and small miners from the South Rupununi have been pushing for the resumption of small-scale mining activities in Marudi. This will create employment and opportunities for the residents, something the SRDC has failed to do, engaging openly in self-interest activities.
Further, I was advised that the decision to resume small-scale mining was a long and consultative process, which included the small miners who are also Indigenous, RDC, RMA, and Romanex/Aurous, and the mining regulatory agency.
It must be noted that the “small miners” are from the South Rupununi and the surrounding Indigenous communities, and they stand to benefit most from the resumption of small-scale mining activities. This will be in the form of employment and provision of goods and services that are necessary to sustain small-scale mining operations.
Finally, all I ask is for the SRDC to be more honest, diligent, and wholehearted in representing the interest of all the Indigenous people, not only in South Rupununi, but in all of Guyana. I wish to restate that the SDRC will be unmasked for its duplicity and self-interest by denying employment and other opportunities to my fellow Indigenous brothers and sisters. Therefore, on behalf of those not openly able to state their support, and also on my own behalf, I wish to endorse the resumption of small-scale mining and exploration activities for the benefit of all Indigenous communities within South Rupununi. The Government, through the Ministry of Natural Resources, the regulatory agency, and collaboratively with other stakeholders, acted wisely in the interest of our Indigenous brothers and sisters of South Rupununi and all of Region Nine.

T Williams
on behalf of South