President irked over gold heist

WILLEMSTAD -- While reserving judgement on the stunning gold heist in Curaçao last week Friday, Guyanese President Donald Ramotar says he is disturbed at the situation as it suggests that Guyana is being robbed of revenue as a result of smuggling.

The Government Information Agency said that Ramotar was speaking to reporters in his first response on the matter. The president said some international help would probably have to be requested, based on press reports that the authorities on the Dutch Caribbean island insist the shipment was legal.
Over US $11 million-worth of gold was seized by masked gunmen from the vessel which has a Guyanese crew. It is still not clear if any of the gold is from Guyana or which port the vessel left from.
Meanwhile, Minister of Natural Resources Robert Persaud said this incident must not be allowed to overshadow the many positive transformations that gold-mining and mining as a whole have brought about in Guyana.
"We all know, we all are experiencing and we all should be proud of the achievement of the mining sector as a whole, particularly the gold sub-sector. If we look across the mining communities we will see the transformation that is taking place. If we go right across the coast we will recognise the positive impact that mining and gold-mining is having on our economy and the transformative effect it is having on the quality of lives of our people," he said, while speaking at the commissioning of a branch office at Charity, Essequibo, Guyana.
"Importantly, there is no clear evidence of the gold emanating from Guyana or that it left these shores." The minister said what the investigations are showing is that this is a huge phenomenon involving a number of countries and a number of players. He asked that everyone be on alert, be proactive and adhere to the law.
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