Five Guyana soldiers charged with raid on gold mining camps

A Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Lieutenant and four other ranks, who allegedly raided several Guyanese and Brazilian gold mining camps have been brought to the city, charged and detained for a number military offences.

“At this time the Guyana Defence Force has sufficient evidence to charge the ranks under military law,” the GDF said in a statement about the incident that allegedly occurred on Friday. January 25.

No mention has been made about charges according to civilian law. The army would only say that “the alleged criminal conduct by the officer and ranks in the mining camp and Julian Ross Landing continues to be investigated” by the police and army.

The officer and ranks, who are currently detained in Camp, have already appeared before a Commanding Officer and were remanded for a Summary of Evidence with a view to Court Martial proceedings.

A senior GDF officer would only say that the soldiers have allegedly breached Standard Operating procedures.

Commodore Gary Best in discussions with miners at Julian Ross Landing (GDF photo)

Miners in the Cuyuni mining district have complained that the soldiers had raided their camps, beat miners and grabbed quantities of raw gold. In one instance, miners said the soldiers had stolen and smoked marijuana before continuing on their rampage. Additional tests to determine whether they used marijuana were due to be conducted.

The GDF said it decided to file proceedings under military law after the officer and ranks said to have committed the criminal acts were positively identified as being present and entering the mining camps.

Chief of Staff Commodore Gary Best has reiterated that criminal conduct by Officers and ranks of the Guyana Defence Force would not be tolerated and that transgressors of the Force’s policies and standard operating procedures, particularly in that regard, wouldl be severely dealt with at the Force level and will also face criminal charges before the nation’s courts.

The GDF has said that officers and soldiers of the GDF are not authorised to conduct any mining operations, request to see and inspect any mining licenses or intermeddle into any mining activities except in the presence of Mining Officer of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC).

“Members of the mining community must not submit themselves to any actions by Officers and soldiers of the Guyana Defence Force acting alone with respect to enforcement of laws governing mining in Guyana.,” the GDF said.

Courtesy Demerara Waves
Written by Demerara Waves