GEORGETOWN, Guyana (GINA) -- An officer and four other ranks of the Guyana Defence Force have been arrested in relation to their alleged involvement in criminal conduct, reportedly committed in the Cuyuni mining district recently.
This follows the visit made by the chief-of-staff, Commodore Gary Best to the mining community at the Julian Ross Landing on Friday. During that visit Best assured the miners that once the alleged perpetrators of the conduct were identified, he would ensure that they were charged and placed before the courts.
The miners cooperated and, as a result, the officer and ranks said to have committed the criminal acts were positively identified as being present and entering the mining camps.
Best made good on his promise to the community when he said, “Once we have evidence that the soldiers came here and went to the backdam and robbed the miners, I will ensure that they are charged and put before the court; and if they have to end up in prison, then they will end up in prison.”
The men were escorted by GDF investigators and brought to Camp Ayanganna on Sunday.
The officer and ranks are currently detained in Camp Ayanganna, where they were charged with military offences. They appeared before a commanding officer and were remanded for a summary of evidence with a view to court martial proceedings.
At this time the Guyana Defence Force has sufficient evidence to charge the ranks under military law. The alleged criminal conduct by the officer and ranks in the mining camp and at the Julian Ross landing continues to be investigated by the Guyana Police Force and the Guyana Defence Force.
Best reiterated that criminal conduct by officers and ranks of the Guyana Defence Force will not be tolerated and that transgressors of the Force’s policies and standard operating procedures, particularly in this regard, will be severely dealt with at the Force level and will also face criminal charges before the nation’s courts.
The Guyana Defence Force, through publication in the newspapers, has also emphasised to the mining community across Guyana that “Officers and soldiers of the Guyana Defence Force 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 a GGMC Mining Officer. Therefore, 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.”