Restructuring of GGMC will allow for effective stewardship of the country’s mineral resources

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Dear Editor,

THE Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) takes note of a letter contained in the November7, 2019 edition of the Kaieteur News titled, “Restructuring of GGMC untimely, belated action shows lack of strategic vision”. Given its mandate to explore, develop and sustain the natural resources of our country, the ministry has continuously taken action to review and update policies and the functioning where necessary, to ensure the sustainable exploration and development of the nation’s resources.

Particularly, the MNR has supported and worked along with the agencies within its purview, namely the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) and the Guyana Gold Board (GGB), which function as regulators within the sector. The ministry and, by extension, the Government of Guyana, in efforts to continue the advancement of the country and the natural resources sector’s management, has decided to move forward with acquiring recommendations on the restructuring and modernisation of all three agencies within its policy remit, the GGMC, GFC and GGB.

These processes were approved by Cabinet in 2017 and 2018, and has been ongoing for many months. No one has been dismissed, and the purposes of these consultancies are not meant to target any individual in any agency, and in fact, are grounded in strong management principles, which are to ensure that these state agencies are aligned with the Government’s vision for the future. Given the misunderstandings regarding the restructuring of the two key agencies, GGMC and GFC, it is fitting that the intent of the activities be reiterated.

In the case of the GFC, the restructuring process has been headed by a Joint Task Force between the MNR and the Board of Directors of the GFC. Following the completion of work done to formulate a new Forest Policy and Plan, in 2018, it became imperative to review the functions of the GFC to ensure that all aspects of its work were in tandem with the new “green” vision that the country is embracing.

The intent of the task force was to submit recommendations regarding the restructuring. The task force was mandated to complete an examination and evaluation of performance standards and job descriptions, personnel procedures, conditions of employment and appointment, wages and salary structures and payroll administration. The activity further aimed at improving the efficient performance and effective management of the commission by identifying development opportunities for staff.

With regards to the GGMC, to ensure preparedness for the emergence of a new and green economy, it was also imperative that the GGMC’s role and functioning also be scrutinised to ensure that it was ready for the transition. In 2017, it was therefore decided that there is to be a thorough review of the Commission’s operating procedures, structure and functions.

With the discovery of oil and the need for GGMC’s Petroleum Division to transition into the soon to be established Petroleum Commission, and the opening of new areas for exploration, it is appropriate that the agency adapts its efficiency and is better able to come into line with international standards and practices. This restructuring will allow the GGMC to continue to provide effective stewardship of the country’s mineral resources. Currently, GGMC is divided into a number of divisions and units: Geological Services, Mines, Environment, Petroleum and Land Management.

The Ministry continues to support effective functioning of these key agencies within the sector. It is the Government’s aim to advance the country’s development, hence, the restructuring activities will play a key role in how our patrimony is efficiently managed. The MNR continues to support the activities and looks forward to the submissions of recommendations regarding the agencies.

Regards,
Public Affairs and Communications Unit,
Ministry of Natural Resources