President David Granger, on Saturday, ordered that a multi-agency task force be set up to address the many multidimensional issues challenging the communities of the South Rupununi. The President was at the time visiting the community of Shulinab, Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo (Region Nine) for Heritage Day celebrations.
The Head of State’s decision followed a number of complaints by Toshaos of the various communities about illegal mining, pollution, allegations of trafficking in persons (TIP) among other criminal activities, affecting their communities. He committed to having the many issues presented to him by the South Rupununi District Council (SRDC) investigated and remedied.
“[There is need for] setting up of a mechanism for the regular if not continuous, exchange of information and more importantly, the solution of these problems. It is no point, at this stage, resorting to the ministerial system – I am thinking along the line of a multi-agency task force which can deal with all of these problems as they occur. We must deal with the problem in a more holistic way,” President Granger said.
Saturday’s meeting follows one held in Aishalton, Region Nine, in February where similar concerns were raised. The Head-of-State, after listening to the presentations, said that the situation warrants immediate attention and called on Minister of Public Affairs, Mrs. Dawn Hastings-Williams to organize stakeholder meetings in the near future. In the case of environmental issues, the President said that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), and the Protected Areas Commission (PAC) must work together “to bring an end to this scourge and contamination of the headwaters of this village”.