Amid growing concerns about Guyana’s gold declarations decreasing, Vice President (VP) Bharrat Jagdeo during his press conference on Thursday confirmed that the decrease in declarations is factual. He also disclosed that a probe has been launched into alleged smuggling.
Recently, it was reported that the Brazilian Federal Police in Boa Vista, Roraima are investigating a Guyanese businessman for allegedly laundering some US$16.5M in smuggled gold through shell companies in Brazil.
On Thursday, Guyana’s Vice President explained, “With the story coming out of Brazil, we have realised that they may be diverting gold.” He noted that the smuggling of gold from Guyana to Brazil might be a contributing factor to the decrease in gold declarations in the country.
According to Jagdeo, the government had thought that it was Venezuelan gold coming into Guyana to buy-pas the sanctions before it goes through the legal route.
“Now we are realizing that it is actually our gold going into Brazil and obviously to buy pass the 5% royalty and the 2% final tax, 7% that they don’t have to pay,” the VP added.
After being made aware of the allege gold smuggling ring, Jagdeo noted that government has launched a probe and highlighted that it will take tough measures against the culprits found.
“We are going to track those who are benefitting from concessions, a lot of the local medium scale miners, they get concessions from the government too and if they are part of this racket, then they will face consequences too, as well, as those who are part of the export of the gold they would face consequences too,” the Vice President said.
Moreover, the Bank of Guyana’s Second Quarter Report for 2022, explains that, “Output in the gold subsector declined by 2.0 percent on account of lower declarations by small and medium scale miners by 10.0 percent.”