Tesouro Resources labels KN story ‘misleading,’ ‘unbalanced’

Dear editor,
I WRITE in relation to a story in the Kaieteur News’ edition of Sunday 28th February, 2016, captioned “No Mining land, ‘Landlordism’ Cause Miners to Block Road In Protest – One Arrested.”
The story reports that Tesouro Resources (‘the company’) has been depriving small local miners of the little land they had and even blocked them from carrying out their operations. The Kaieteur News’ story further states that the issue of ‘landlordism’ throughout Guyana and in that particular area is rampant. It claims that large companies have allowed miners to mine on their lands until they “lash out,” after which they send their security forces to forcibly remove them from these lands.The above statements, with the claims of ‘landlordism’ are completely misconceived. Recent complaints of what has come to be called ‘landlordism’ by small miners, are based on claims that some large-scale miners are given preferential treatment by the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) in the award of mineral properties. However, such claims cannot apply to Tesouro, as all of the properties mentioned in the story and held by Tesouro, were never awarded by the GGMC, but were acquired through independent arrangements with the former registered holders. What some persons are attempting to do is to use spurious claims to compel Tesouro to allow them to work properties it has acquired the rights to work, at considerable expense.
This has now taken the form of persons trespassing on Tesouro’s property at Konawaruk, blocking mining roads and refusing to remove. On separate occasions over the past three weeks, the GGMC and the Guyana Police force have had to forcibly remove raiders from the property. The GGMC has issued Cease Work Orders to these persons. In response, the intended raiders have threatened to kill Tesouro personnel, and to burn its facilities. An atmosphere of deliberate lawlessness is being created by these persons to compulsorily deprive Tesouro of its properties. This behaviour is not allowed anywhere in the world.
The Kaieteur News’ story further romanticises this lawless behaviour, by repeating a claim by two persons Mario Figueira and Alisha Figueira of Konawaruk, of being invaded by shotgun-toting men dressed as security guards who sprayed their mining camp with shotgun pellets, declaring an intention to destroy their camp. It is regrettable that the Kaieteur News by this publication has placed itself in the unfortunate position of advancing these untruthful and wild assertions, without even attempting to make contact with Tesouro resources, who would have been able to provide much needed balance to the story.
While I am reluctant to enter into too much detail, as the matter involving Mario and Alisha Figueira is currently engaging the attention of the High Court (2015-HC-DEM-CIV-CD-644), the Figueiras had been allowed to work 3 (three) blocks of land held by Tesouro. They were then discovered clandestinely and secretly illegally (‘raiding’) a fourth property held by Tesouro.
On being ordered to remove, they had asked to be allowed to remain. Tesouro had declined as it had already formed plans to work the property itself, and had acquired it at great expense from the previous holder for this purpose. At that point, the Figueiras refused to remove and continued to raid the property, which resulted in their being removed therefrom. In the course of raiding Tesouro’s property, they had sought and obtained injunctions from two Judges in different divisions of the High Court on the untruthful premise that they had an oral contract with Tesouro for the forth property. We assume the legal proceedings were intended to unduly protract the issue, giving them time to complete the raiding. However, on being apprised of all of the facts, successive judges discharged their injunctions for non-disclosure of material facts. They subsequently in November 2015, tacitly acknowledged in writing that they had been trespassing and “raiding” Tesouro’s fourth property, but claimed to have mistakenly thought they were on the three they had permission to work. All in these days of technology such as the GPS being commonplace in the mining industry.
As I have stated above, I am constrained from further discussing the matter as it is still sub judice. However, I expect that your newspaper will publish this response to the Kaieteur News’ initial misleading and unbalanced story.

Yours sincerely
Jaswick Williams,
Lt Col (retd)
General Manager
Tesouro Resources

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