One of the major reasons for the increase in sand prices at the pits along the Soesdyke/Linden Highway, was talks of an impending increase in royalties. But the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) recently made it clear that it has no plans to increase the fees.
GGMC Commissioner General, Newell Dennison, told the Guyana Standard yesterday during an interview that the regulatory body has not issued anything to that effect.
“I am not aware of anything of that nature. I have no instructions, I have no guidance, I have no directions – nothing of that nature has ever come to me at this point in time. I don’t know where that is coming from,” he said.
Earlier this week, rumours of the increase were used as the basis for pit owners jacking up the price of sand at the pits – in some cases, by 100 percent.
Their decision to do so sparked an outcry from the truckers who will now have to increase their prices between $4,000 to $5,000 more than what it previously cost secondary consumers – the building contractors and prospective homeowners.
This increase also comes at a time when the construction sector is basking in a 5.1 percent increase in performance. Quizzed on whether the increase warrants an investigation, Dennison said that he does not see the need to investigate a rumour.
The Commissioner General said, “I don’t know why we should investigate that… We investigate for the other conditions of the operations, safety etcetera, according to the regulations. We try to get compliance in terms of the operators paying their royalties.”
Asked whether there has been any breach in regulations with regards to operators along the Highway, Dennison said, “From time to time, we do find them short and we do give them instructions on how to correct themselves.”
The Commissioner also said that follow-ups are done on a regular basis to ensure that operators remain compliant. “We have a unit that goes out to the quarry and sandpit operations around Guyana to check on those kinds of compliance issues.”