By Guyana Times,
Canada, with its technical expertise, has several companies either mining or preparing to mine gold in Guyana and as such, Government is looking to tap into Canada’s advancement to build local capacity in the extractive and other sectors.
This was revealed by outgoing Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana, Her Excellency Lilian Chatterjee in an exclusive interview with Guyana Times. She noted Canada’s mining experience in Guyana and revealed that the Natural Resources Ministry has requested assistance from Canada.
“We have Canadian gold mines here. Some of them are founding members of the Chamber. And the Ministry of Natural Resources has asked for Canada’s help in supporting training in mechanisation of the mining industry. They’re looking for us to help them in training of their labour force,” Chatterjee explained.
Previously, Canada-based Guyana Goldfields had managed the operations at Aurora Gold Mine, one of the largest mining operations in Guyana. That was until Goldfields moved to downsize its operations in May 2020, after facing constraints from the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with other financial woes. The decision was also linked to the company’s transition to underground mining.
After initially selling its operations to Silvercorp, another Canadian mining company, Chinese-owned Zijin Mining Group made a superior offer to Goldfields that Silvercorp failed to match within the stipulated time. As a result, Zijin was able to clinch the deal and complete the takeover in August.
Canada’s potential help is not limited to mining, however, as the diplomat revealed that Canada’s assistance has also been requested in the forestry and agriculture sectors, each with their own unique challenges. And Chatterjee noted that Canada has the expertise to help.
Another area where Canada is likely to offer assistance is electoral reform, the need for which has become even more pronounced since the March 2 General and Regional Elections. According to Chatterjee, the help is on the table waiting for Guyana to tap into.
“We have talked to President Ali, Attorney General (Anil) Nandlall and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Gail Teixeira, saying that we’re willing to support electoral reform if that’s what they want. And they’ve indicated that they want that,” Chatterjee said.
“So, we’ve talked to them about what we can provide for support. They need to discuss it in Cabinet and come up with a decision. Once they let us know what they would like, we’d be happy to respond.”
President Ali had previously committed to establishing a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) to examine and investigate the events following the March 2, 2020 elections in Guyana, and to make recommendations where warranted.
Only recently, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) had informed Guyana of the extensive technical support the UNDP can offer on a myriad of various governance issues, including, but not limited to strengthening of democracy, justice reform, and electoral reform.
UNDP Resident Representative Jairo Valverde had met with AG Nandlall, following which a missive was released from the Legal Affairs Ministry informing that Valverde had offered to provide technical assistance and support to implement the recommendations for improvement and change that would be made to the electoral process after the conclusion of the CoI.
Valverde had indicated that the UNDP has in excess of 8000 technical persons deployed across the world assisting various Governments in electoral reform and other key areas that require technical support in governance. He had stated that the UNDP is, as a result, willing and capable of providing any assistance that the Government of Guyana would require upon request.
Main Photo: Mining is one of the sectors where Canada’s help has been sought