Dear Editor,On the 6th September, Caretaker President David Granger hosted an interactive business luncheon for stakeholders of the Mining community, members of the GGDMA, WMO and NMS were present and related a litany of woes to Granger; President of the GGDMA, Mr Terrence Adams raised concerns about the deplorable state of the roadways, which lead to mining communities and what he described as a need for more government concessions.The GWMO president asked whether the Government would be able to render assistance to the mining industry. “How would miners be assisted? At this point, we do not have any alternatives to mercury but at the same time, we have the years that are counting down for us,” she said. The caretaker President also said he would welcome recommendations of solutions from the mining sector, which would be sent to him directly.Granger explained that he was not previously aware of the issues plaguing the sector. In 2017, Granger introduced a 2% final tax on gold production; this was changed to a sliding scale in 2018 after strong representation by the PPP in parliament. Miners now have to pay to sell gold to the Gold Board; 14% VAT applies to the industry and has not been removed despite numerous pleas. Miners who are not in possession of claim documents in the interior are threatened with jail. There is rampant corruption in the sector with government cronies forming ‘syndicates’ and being allocated prime claims under most questionable circumstances. How can the President not know what the consequences of his policies are? Granger is meeting and promising as he did before elections 2015, can anyone trust him to care after elections 2019?Editor, Gold and Diamond mining contribute Billions in hard currency to our nation’s coffers; Mining is the main pillar of our economy presently, how can Granger not know of the issues affecting production and profitability in this vital sector? This begs the question of what does Mr. Granger do all day? For it seems every time there is an issue within a sector, he (Granger) asserts he has no knowledge of the problem; when the issues with the ExxonMobil PSA was being discussed, Granger’s advisor on Oil, Dr. Jan Mangal, revealed that “It was ExxonMobil who told me the contract was signed, not the Government. President Granger himself seemed surprised that a new contract was already signed.” Following this, Granger assumed responsibility for oil, or so we were told, He (Granger) promptly handed over control of the newly created Department of Energy to Dr. Mark Bynoe, who in follow-the-leader fashion, appointed Mr. Wilks, a retired oilman to run the department, while he (Bynoe) engaged in various political activities such as talks on ‘Christian oil’.Editor, not to belabor the point, but here is another thing Granger does not seem to ‘know’; Declarations must be made to the Integrity Commission annually, otherwise we have no explanation for his (Granger’s) move from a small house in D ‘urban backlands to a compound that includes a mansion and other buildings in Pearl within two years of assumption of the Office of the President.Granger knows an election can only be delayed for so long; as he temporizes; his Ministers are working for the first time in four years, Volda Lawrence is visiting hinterland villages rolling out internet connectivity; Lawrence never mentions that this program was inherited from the PPP complete with $17 Million USD as part of the LCDS and she never apologizes for the delay in implementation. Amerindian titling is suddenly a priority; roads in Georgetown and on the east Coast are being fixed hastily as the election fever grips; Guyanese know that ‘fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me’ applies to this sudden flurry of care and new promises.There are major problems within every sector of the economy – Rice, Sugar, Bauxite, and Construction are suffering a marked downturn, along with the aforementioned Gold and Diamond mining; The teachers, security services and public servants are unhappy; Local businessmen want a vibrant Local Content policy backed by legislation to give them at least a level playing field in the new petroleum sector. Will Granger be meeting with all these groups for suggestions on solutions? If so I would suggest he not waste everyone’s time. Following the meeting described above, a prominent miner asked me for a polite way to indicate to Mr Granger that a return to the status quo that existed when Granger assumed office i.e. the PPP policies, would suffice to solve all of the problems now plaguing the mining industry “just undo all the new taxes and give us back the concessions we had”. In reply, I suggested that the message will be delivered loud and clear by persons in every productive sector and the general electorate come Election Day.RespectfullyRobin Singh
Rafael Marquez has doled out a lot of pain over his terrific career, having knocked out 32 opponents while compiling a record of 36-3. He is 8-0 in world title fights. But the damage has been done in the bantamweight division. Marquez will move up in weight tonight to challenge Israel Vazquez for his World Boxing Council super bantamweight belt at Home Depot Center in Carson. When the opening bell rings, an all-out assault by the Mexican fighters is expected. So it won’t take long to ascertain whether Marquez brought his tremendous punching power up a weight class. “The four-pound difference does not do anything to me,” Marquez, 31, of Mexico City. “I feel stronger, actually. I wanted to move up a long time ago. I do not feel any disadvantages moving up to 122. “I am strong and I am a great fighter. So why should I feel that way?” Marquez won the International Boxing Federation bantamweight championship with an eighth-round technical knockout of Tim Austin in February 2003. He made seven successful defenses, five by knockout. Now, he not only is moving up to super bantamweight, he is taking on the best fighter in the world in that division. Thus, all the questions about how he will fare at the higher weight. It seems to have been a theme at news conferences and conference calls promoting the fight. “It was my decision to move to 122, so I will be well prepared,” Marquez said. He had better be because Vazquez is coming to rumble. “He is going to have to deal with fighting me,” said Vazquez, who is 41-3 with 30 knockouts. “I am a natural 122-pounder. He has never had to do that before. So I think that will be the biggest obstacle or problem facing him.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!