THE Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment in collaboration with the Hinterland Infrastructure Committee (HIC) yesterday held a special meeting for mining roads contractors at the Guyana Forestry Commission, Kingston. The meeting saw members of the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association, including Mr. Patrick Harding and Mr. Colin Sparman; Hinterland Engineer, Mr. Naeem Mohamed; Mr. Gavin Agard and Mr. Arun Richard, all of whom delivered constructive presentations on infrastructure development across mining areas in Guyana. Present also was Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, Mr. Joslyn McKenzie.
However, due to unforeseen circumstances, Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Robert Persaud was unable to attend.
The presentations highlighted issues faced by the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, presented by Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association with regards to the quality of roads. Complaints have also been made by other mining companies about the safety of the roads. Other issues of concern were that of contractors not possessing an adequate workforce and the timely completion of projects.
To address this issue, however, Mr. Enrico Woolford, Editor-in-Chief at Capitol News, later suggested that contractors must develop a 5-10 year strategic plan on infrastructure development, then execute this plan annually. He also added that contractors should take into consideration the uses of the roads after they are built. “We can’t be building roads with 2 inches and 3 inches capping for trucks that have to convey huge loads.”
Some of the proposed projects that are expected to be done during 2014 include the Port Kaituma internal road (Region 1), Region 10 internal road to Mahdia, Bartica/Potaro to Mahdia road and in Region 10 Linden to Mabura road. It was mentioned too that maintenance of roads should also be of high priority and contractors should not wait for deterioration of roads before maintenance work is done.
Through this initiative, the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, the Ministry of Public works, the Hinterland Infrastructure Committee and the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association will together seek to improver infrastructure in the hinterland region and more so, in the mining industry through strategic planning, accurate execution and developmental processes.
(By Ravin Singh)