Guyana Goldfields invests US$50,000 –to enable workers to vote in LGE
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Ravin Singh

A MONUMENTAL move which is likely to set a precedent for other private companies was on Friday recorded as Guyana Goldfields expended a whopping US$50,000 to have approximately 170 employees flown from its Aurora mine to vote in the Local Government Elections (LGE).This was confirmed last evening by Ocy Downer, who is responsible for logistics at the company.
It was revealed that the Canada-owned gold-mining company chartered a total of 32 flights over a three-day period to have the workers flown to the coast and back to the mining site.
The flights chartered were from several local carriers, including Trans Guyana Airways, Roraima Airways and Air Services Limited. The approximate distance from the worksite to the coast was estimated to be 200km.

However, this US$50,000 (or $10M) was spent after concerns were raised regarding the likelihood of workers not being able to vote on Election Day.
In a letter published in daily print, Kaieteur News on March 15, 2016, under the headline: “Guyana Goldfields may prevent us from voting,” one employee expressed that management of the company was “breaking the spirit of workers” who are legally entitled to time-off from work to cast their ballots.
“They [workers] are being asked to stay and work because they will lose income. This is because they can’t guarantee getting us back on site before three days. Some persons who are scheduled to travel out close to Friday are being offered time and a half to stay on site and work through, because they are not bringing their replacement to site until after the elections,” the employee said while maintaining anonymity.

Knowledgeable of the law, the worker stated that all employees are entitled to time-off and in his view this was not being obeyed.
“This is a foreign company and they need to be told to obey our laws or leave our country. In the past, persons would have labelled this kind of treatment prison-like or slave camp,” the employee said, adding that the letter could possibly cost them their jobs if their identities were revealed.

On the flip side of things though, a source last evening revealed that the employees would be paid for the day only if they provided evidence of the ink stain on their fingers.
The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) on Thursday last revealed that 507,633 persons were registered to vote at the Local Government Elections (LGE). Three political parties, 17 voluntary groups and 63 individual candidates contested the elections which were facilitated at 1,562 polling stations across the country.
Guyana Goldfields Inc is a Canada-based mineral exploration company primarily focused on the exploration and development of gold deposits in Guyana. The company holds advanced exploration projects and has been operating in Guyana continuously since 1996.

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